like a chicken with its head cut off
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- (informal) In a frantic, disorganized manner.
- 1911, Zane Grey, chapter 9, in The Young Pitcher:
- Ken played or essayed to play right field for a while, but he ran around like a chicken with its head off.
- 1920, Harold MacGrath, chapter 27, in The Drums Of Jeopardy:
- I've been running round like a chicken with its head cut off.
- 1962 December 28, “Nation: New Fail-Safe”, in Time:
- Says one Pentagon arms-control expert: "Our setup was actually designed to act in time of general war like a chicken with its head cut off. The brain could be destroyed and the nervous system severed. Then the military muscles would just jerk in uncontrolled spasms."
- Often preceded by the verb run around.
in a frantic, disorganized manner