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The meaning and origin of the expression: Fly off the handle

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Fly off the handle

What's the meaning of the phrase 'Fly off the handle'?

Lose self control.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Fly off the handle'?

This is an American phrase and it alludes to the uncontrolled way a loose axe-head flies off from its handle. It is first found in print in Thomas C. Haliburton's The Attaché; or, Sam Slick in England, 1843/4:

"He flies right off the handle for nothing."

Haliburton was an inventive writer and had a hand in the coining of several commonly used phrases:

Ginger up
Won't take no for an answer

See other phrases that were coined in the USA.

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