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to fly off the handle


Click below to listen to the phrase.

Choose the correct definition : a, b or c.

a) to lose one’s temper

Well done ! That’s the right answer.

This expression ’ to fly off the handle,’ is when someone reacts in a very angry way to something someone says or does.

French translation

sortir de ses gonds

How NOT to translate : *s’envoler de la poignée

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Examples in context

‘Moody Mr Bercow flies off the handle quicker than Basil Fawlty.’

A morning spent Squeaker-watching. His behaviour has become a cause for concern. There have been so many misjudged, savage over-reactions from the Chair in recent weeks. His tonsils have waggled like a can-can dancer kicking her heels. He has been bright orange in the face – from rage, rather than some Peter Hain sunbed. Is Mister Speaker Bercow unhappy about something ? Is he feeling quite himself ? Does his half-pint bodily vessel pump with blood or something more acid ? The way he screamed at Transport Minister Simon Burns (an old enemy) on Wednesday night, he looked more like the Sergeant Major from It Ain’t Half Hot Mum than the loftily impartial arbiter of a great and ancient democratic legislature. He has achieved the nigh impossible. He has made the House hanker for the ‘good old days’ of his predecessor, Gorbals Mick Martin.

The Daily Mail, 4th July 2014

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’What Kind of Angry Are You ?’

Ticked off. Fed up. Enraged. Call it what you will, but we’ve all been there. Anger is part of being human, says Norman Rosenthal, MD, professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School. "Problems start when you bottle it up, react now and think later, or feel that a destructive response is justified just because you’re furious," he says.

In fact, both flying off the handle and wallowing can take a toll on your health, increasing pain perception, depression, and your risk of heart disease. But a healthier response can soothe stress, lower your risk of heart problems and depression, and improve your relationships.

ABC News, 21st April 2014

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Everyday usage

Mrs Jones really flew off the handle when I suggested that she should sell her car.

When we make mistakes, he brings it to our attention, but he doesn’t fly off the handle like he used to.

b) to take a flight somewhere

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

c) to be happy

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.


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