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fly off the handle Informal

Meaning: If you fly off the handle, you are so angry about something that you lose control of yourself and start screaming and shouting.

For example:

  • My wife flew off the handle when I said she spent way too much money on ridiculously expensive designer clothes, ankle-breaking shoes and silly little handbags too small to carry anything in.

  • Our boss flew off the handle when he saw the mistake. He said he'd fire us this time, but he didn't really mean it ... I hope.

Origin: Possibly related to the dangerous and unpredictable way an axe-head can fly off its handle if it comes loose.

Quick Quiz:

We were having dinner in a restaurant last night when this guy at the next table flew off the handle because
  1. the food was so delicious
  2. the waiter was so handsome
  3. the waiter brought the wrong thing

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