What does the idiom "blow a fuse" mean?

Idioms are generally defined as groups of words that form a meaningful whole when they come together, even though the words in them do not make sense on their own. They have produced many idioms according to their own cultural characteristics in communities using the English language. What does blow a fuse mean? In what situations is blow a fuse used?

Meaning of "blow a fuse"


The expression "blow a fuse" is an idiomatic phrase used to describe someone's reaction to an emotionally-charged situation. It typically refers to a person becoming extremely angry or agitated, as when one has reached an emotional breaking point. This phrase also carries a figurative connotation, where it is used to describe the sudden onset of an intense emotion, such as rage or outrage.


The phrase "blow a fuse" originated in the early 1900s and is believed to be derived from the world of electrical engineering. Electrical fuses are safety devices that are designed to protect a circuit from overloads. They are typically composed of a metal filament encased in a glass or ceramic body that plugs into an electrical circuit. When an excessive amount of current passes through a particular circuit, the filament melts, thus creating an electrical break that prevents the circuit from further damage. In essence, the phrase "blow a fuse" is an analogy to this process, drawing parallels to an individual quickly reaching a point of emotional overload.


The phrase "blow a fuse" has been used in numerous cultural contexts, from novels, movies, and music, to everyday vernacular. In literature and cinema, it is most often used to describe a character's sudden eruption of anger. Often times, it is used for comedic purposes, such as when a person overreacts to a trivial situation. In ordinary conversation, the phrase is used to express a person's frustration or intense emotions.

Example Sentences

  • When I told him that I had broken his favorite mug, he just blew a fuse!
  • I could see her anger rising, like a pressure cooker about to blow a fuse.
  • The mention of his ex-wife was enough to make him blow a fuse.

The meanings of the words in the "blow a fuse" idiom

The power of idioms transcends languages!

"Putting the cart before the horse" is an English idiom that means doing things in the wrong order. In Russian, the similar idiom is "Кладёт колесо впереди лошади," which translates to "Putting the cart before the horse." This idiom emphasizes the idea that doing things in the wrong order can lead to confusion and problems down the line.


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