out of hand


get out of hand


  • out of control
  • no longer in control of something or someone
  • difficult to control a situation
  • be chaotic or unmanageable
  • be in an unruly state

Example Sentences

  1. When the police arrived, they realised the party was getting out of hand.
  2. Jane and Sarah had a disagreement that suddenly got out of hand and then everyone was shouting.
  3. Their kids need some discipline, they are getting completely out of hand.
  4. Two of the children started fighting in the playground yesterday. It wasn’t long before it all got out of hand.
  5. The farmer was trying to get all the sheep into the barn when it all got out of hand and they ended up in the road.
  6. I thought it would be a good idea to bake some buns with my small nephews, but it got out of hand and took me 2 hours to clean up the mess.
  7. We’re going to look at that and, if there’s something that was out of hand, then we’ll deal with it.
  8. Soon, the situation went out of hand.
  9. The authorities concede that the viral outbreak “has gone out of hand.”
  10. How do I not let this get out of hand, and what is out of hand anymore?


This phrase originates from losing control of a horse when riding or a team of horses pulling a wagon. If the rider lets go of the reins or does not keep a firm grip, then they cannot control the horses. Hence, the horses will be ‘out of hand’.

Share your opinions1 Opinion

I’ve heard the expression used to mean a refusal to consider something thoughtfully. “He dismissed the application out of hand.”

‒ Anonymous March 5, 2021

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