Fly Off the Handle

Meaning of Idiom ‘Fly Off the Handle’

To fly off the handle means to lose one’s temper; to become enraged. 1Jarvie, Gordon. Bloomsbury Dictionary of Idioms. London: Bloomsbury, 2009.,2Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,3Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms]. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.

This idiom means the same as fly into a rage.


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Examples Of Use

“You can’t fly off the handle at the slightest little problem.”

“Jake keeps flying off the handle. I don’t know what’s wrong with him lately.”

“You’re going to have to talk to Brad. Nobody can work with him right. He just flew off the handle because I asked him to check my calculations.”

“Try not to fly off the handle, but I have bad news about the promotion.”

Origin

Used since the early 1800s, this idiom alludes to an axe-head coming loose during use and flying off the handle, something that is very dangerous. 4Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms]. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.,5Jarvie, Gordon. Bloomsbury Dictionary of Idioms. London: Bloomsbury, 2009.

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Sources   [ + ]

1, 5. Jarvie, Gordon. Bloomsbury Dictionary of Idioms. London: Bloomsbury, 2009.
2. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
3, 4. Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms]. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.