LanGeekLanGeek Dictionary

fly off the handle

British pronunciation/flˈaɪ ˈɒf ðə hˈandəl/
American pronunciation/flˈaɪ ˈɔf ðə hˈændəl/
to fly off the handle

What is the origin of the idiom "fly off the handle" and when to use it?

The origin of the phrase "fly off the handle" can be traced back to the early 19th century. The phrase is believed to have derived from the image of a loose axe head flying off the wooden handle with great force when the handle is swung vigorously. This sudden and uncontrolled separation of the axe head from the handle serves as a metaphor for someone losing their temper explosively and unexpectedly. This idiom is commonly used to describe heated arguments, conflicts, or confrontations where emotions escalate rapidly and individuals lose their composure.

1He tends to fly off the handle when people disagree with him.
2He's extremely irritable - he flies off the handle at the slightest thing.
3Are we making them recognizable, having them respond as we think Europeans would by flying off the handle?
4As a younger man, he was prone to flying off the handle, but age had restrained his temper.
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