Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Wire used in baling hay.
  • adj. Informal Mentally confused or erratic; crazy: went haywire over the interminable delays.
  • adj. Informal Not functioning properly; broken.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Wire used to bind bales of hay.
  • adj. Roughly-made, unsophisticated, decrepit (from the use of haywire for temporary repairs).
  • adj. Behaving erratically or uncontrollably, especially of a machine or mechanical process; usually used with the verb "go".

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. not functioning properly
  • n. wire for tying up bales of hay
  • adj. informal or slang terms for mentally irregular

Etymologies

From the use of baling wire for makeshift repairs .
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
hay +‎ wire To go haywire possibly originally referred to the tendency of wire spooled under tension and used in the baling of hay to spring into an unmanageable tangle once a piece had been removed from the factory spool, e.g., "he took off the back of his watch, removed a gear and the whole works went haywire." Or a tendency of slap-dash repairs done with scraps of baling wire to fail catastrophically at times of mechanical stress. Perhaps the meaning of haywire – all in disarray or disrepair – stems from this expression. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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