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Primarily heard in US.
1. To become extremely upset or emotional. Poor Jane really came unglued during the funeral service. Hey, there's no need to come unglued—we’ll figure out a solution. Don't worry!
2. To encounter setbacks or fail altogether. Boy, this party is really coming unglued. First, there was the issue with the caterer, and now half the guests aren't coming.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Fig. to lose emotional control; to break out into tears or laughter. When Sally heard the joke, she almost came unglued. When the bank took away my car, I came unglued and cried and cried.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Also, come unstuck. See come apart at the seams.
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.
come ungluedAMERICAN, INFORMAL
1. If someone comes unglued, they cannot control their emotions and they behave in a strange or crazy way. She had apparently come unglued since losing her job as a writer for Western Gentry magazine. He had come unglued over a girl who was pregnant with his child. She wouldn't marry him, and he had gone to her house with a sawn-off shotgun and threatened to shoot her.
2. If someone or something comes unglued, they fail. Their marriage finally came unglued. Everything seemed to be coming unglued. Note: The usual British expression is come unstuck.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
come unˈglued(American English, informal)
1 become very upset: I don’t know why, but whenever I take my child to the doctor’s she comes unglued.
2 if a plan, etc. comes unglued, it does not work successfully: Personally, I’m not sorry the building plans have come unglued. It means they’ll leave the public park alone.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
To lose one's composure.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.