like a chicken with its head cut off

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like a chicken with its head cut off

With great haste and in a careless or senseless manner. Instead of running around like a chicken with its head cut off, make a list of items you need to finish and then work on them in order.
See also: chicken, cut, head, like, off
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

like a chicken with its head cut off

In a frenzied manner, distractedly, crazily. For example, She ran around the station looking for her lost bag like a chicken with its head cut off . This graphic simile alludes to the fact that the body of a chicken whose head has been cut off sometimes totters about crazily before succumbing.
See also: chicken, cut, head, like, off
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

like a chicken with its head cut off

In a frenzy. Chickens have been known to twitch and even stagger around for several minutes after being decapitated, the result of a reflexive response. A person in the throes of extreme emotional agitation exhibits the same sort of fowl play.
See also: chicken, cut, head, like, off
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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References in periodicals archive ?
"Everything is chaotic, everything is run by people who are like chickens with their heads cut off."
They're still shouting at each other as they criss-cross the capital in the back of cars and sprinting down a London street, often in the wrong direction, and sometimes without the item they're supposed to be selling, like so many business chickens with their heads cut off. Quote of the week: "There's no I in team, but there's five in Individual Brilliance." And there's two in "Idiot" - but, hey, who's counting?
They're still shouting at each other as they criss-cross London in the back of cars and sprinting down city streets, often in the wrong direction and sometimes without the item they're supposed to be selling, like so many business chickens with their heads cut off.
The government ran around like chickens with their heads cut off, reminiscent of long-forgotten South American banana republics.
"A real nuclear disaster in Pakistan would see PAEC, PNRA, and our "great scientists" - who provide endless vanilla-flavoured reassurances - running around like chickens with their heads cut off. They would be clueless in dealing with a situation that threatens the lives of millions.
"Our players ran around like chickens with their heads cut off and we had no end product - Slovakia must have felt like they won the lottery.