off the rails

be off the rails

1. To be in a state of chaos, dysfunction, or disorder. Our project has been off the rails ever since the manager up and quit last month.
2. To be crazy, eccentric, or mentally unhinged. I think you should cut back on your drinking—you were totally off the rails last night!
See also: off, rail

off the rails

In an abnormal or malfunctioning condition, as in Her political campaign has been off the rails for months. The phrase occurs commonly with go, as in Once the superintendent resigned, the effort to reform the school system went off the rails . This idiom alludes to the rails on which trains run; if a train goes off the rails, it stops or crashes. [Mid-1800s]
See also: off, rail
References in classic literature ?
The sudden, spontaneous agility with which he bounded aboard right off the rail afforded me the first glimpse of his real character.
One told the Irish Mirror: "All his mates know it is a matter of time before he is sent to prison as he's gone off the rails again.
Our Jewish guest is Adam Irving, whose documentary Off the Rails tells the story of Darius McCollum, an obsessive transit buff with Aspberger's syndrome who has been arrested 32 times for impersonating New York City subway conductors and bus drivers.
He told the Sunday Times: "She went off the rails and it all went pear-shaped for her.
The same thing happened in a similar situation with Charlotte Church, who went off the rails with her bad drinking habits.
A commuter train in New York came off the rails on Sunday morning, killing at least four people.
It will be the first meeting since the two sides took public shots at each another after talks went off the rails last week.
A TALENTED rugby player, said to have gone off the rails, has been jailed for a year for a burglary at a Rhyl pharmacy.
KIERAN Richardson has revealed how he was saved by God after his life went off the rails at Manchester United.
We are not in danger of Europe going off the rails at some point in the future, Arthur.
She told the Birmingham Mail that she had gone off the rails due to an abusive and violent relationship.
JONNY EVANS has admitted that his game went off the rails last season - but he is not giving up on his Old Trafford career.
Off The Rails, part of the 'Shades' series of quick reads for reluctant teen readers, at only fifty six pages long incorporates thrilling action, a touch of romance and introduces a theme of racism in a way which doesn't allow much opportunity to stop reading.
But the revelation today that the bill may fall on Council Taxpayers across the West Midlands will send most people off the rails.
Kind of going off the rails a little bit," the Daily Express quoted him as saying.