A. n. Wire for binding bales of hay, straw, etc. N. Amer.
1. Poorly equipped, roughly contrived, inefficient, esp. hay-wire outfit (from the practice of using hay-wire for makeshift repairs). orig. U.S.
2. Of a person, circumstances, etc.: in an emotional state, tangled, involved, confused, crazy. colloq. (orig. U.S.).
b. spec. in phr. to go haywire, to go wrong; to become excited or distracted, to become mentally unbalanced. colloq. (orig. U.S.).
Wire used in baling hay.
1. Mentally confused or erratic; crazy: went haywire over the interminable delays.
2. Not functioning properly; broken.
Become wildly confused, out of control, or crazy. For example, The plans for the party have gone haywire, or His enemies accused the mayor of going haywire. This term alludes to the wire used for bundling hay, which is hard to handle and readily tangled. [First half of 1900s]
Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms:
go haywire (informal)
if a system or machine goes haywire, it stops working as it should and starts working in a way that is completely wrong. My CD player goes haywire every time my neighbour uses his cordless phone.
Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms:
to behave or work in a crazy or disorderly way. The system went haywire, and they charged her 71 times for a $50 check. She arrived at work early, hoping to get a lot done, but within minutes things went haywire.
1 : being out of order or having gone wrong <the radio went haywire>
2 : emotionally or mentally upset or out of control : CRAZY <is going haywire with grief>
be haywire durcheinander sein
go haywire durcheinander geraten; (Mensch) durchdrehen, wahnsinnig werden; (Maschine) verrückt spielen