short fuse


a short fuse


  • to get angry quickly.
  • to lose one’s composure with minimal provocation.
  • having a volatile temper.
  • a quick temper.

Examples in Sentences

  1. He has a short fuse. He loses his temper for things that don’t provoke others to high levels of angry emotion.
  2. In the report, the man said one of the staff members threatened him since he had a short fuse.
  3. In the next few moments after their argument, John, who has a short fuse, lunged at his classmate with a karate-style kick.
  4. The figures indicate that law enforcement officers are highly likely to encounter violence during festivals. In areas where people visit clubs, drugs and alcohol play a role in the violence, and it is clear that the individuals have a short fuse.
  5. It would help if you handled people with a short fuse diplomatically.
  6. They will probably not ask the short-fuse committee to advise them when the time comes.
  7. James could be short-fused and fretful, resentful, or impatient.


The phrase “a short fuse” comes from the fuse used in setting off explosions like firecrackers and dynamite. Explosive items with a short fuse sometimes blow up fast or even prematurely. The idiom gained popularity in the mid-twentieth century. The expression was first recorded in the early 1960s. It appears in a novel called The Stainless Steel Rat, written by Harry Harrison. The novel was first printed in 1961. According to Wikipedia, Harry Harrison wrote The Stainless Steel Rat, a series of 12 books. The phrase also appears in Yanks Don’t Cry; a POW novel published in 1963. Its author is Martin Boyle.

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