Transcript for idiom: throw a wobbly
Hi there, I’m Mark, in Akita, this is the everyday language podcast. Today I want to talk about the idiom to throw a wobbly. Okay, so that word, that last word is wobbly and it’s spelt like this w – o – b – b – l – y.
So, wobbly is an adjective which means to shake and to be shaking, to be shaky. It’s a little bit different from shaking, in that, when you use wobbly, it means, like, slightly out of control. Usually, we use it to describe jelly. Jelly wobbles, you know, it is very wobbly, so it’s kind of, out of control, in its movements, or uncontrolled.
Okay, but this idiom actually means to lose your temper, and to get really angry. So you know when… someone gets very, very, very angry their body often starts to shake with anger?
To throw a wobbly, I think it’s got a connection with the shaking, you know they, they become so out of control, they can’t, um, they can’t stay still, you know they’re shaking with anger.
So my example is a story from my school so when I was 11 or 12 years old around, 11 or 12, I remember one teacher, I’ll call him Mr B. He was really famous for throwing wobblies.
So he would get so angry, like when, the class were misbehaving and not listening to him, that he would lose control of his anger, and start shouting and banging the table with his fists.
And we’d say “Oh my goodness! Mr B is throwing a wobbly!” , “He’s got really angry”, and you know because kids are kind of naughty and, er, when we were small, when we were kids, I guess some of us got a kick out of Mr B getting really angry. [to get a kick out of – to enjoy]
So we wanted him to throw a wobbly, and we tried to make him throw a wobbly. At least some of my classmates did. So they would do things like not listen when he was talking and, and be talking to each other, and you know, they’d be doing on purpose, to try to make him throw a wobbly, to try to make him get really angry.
And at first, he wouldn’t be really angry he’d say, “Listen I’m trying to teach you something, don’t talk! And listen to me!”.
And then my classmates wouldn’t pay any attention. On purpose, they’d keep talking, and then you could see Mr B getting more angry [- strictly this should be angrier in proper English]. He’d get more annoyed, and his voice would get louder, and he’d get a bit red in the face, and, you know, that’s when he knew that he was gonna, he was going to throw a wobbly.
He’s going to get really mad [angry]. And then at some point, a classmate would do something that would make him go… that would be the last straw ]the thing that made him lose his temper]; it would make him go mental [get very angry].
He would throw a wobbly. So, you know, someone would throw a paper aeroplane or would clearly not be listening to him and Mr B would bang his hand down on the table, and start shouting,
“You kids! You don’t know anything! You think you’re the best, but you know nothing!”
And he’d be so angry, and it was scary. He’d be fully red in the face, a vein in his forehead would be popping out, and his beard would have bits of saliva in from the spit, from when he was shouting. And, uh, yeah, he’d be throwing a wobbly, he’d be shaking.
His fists would be like…. he couldn’t control him, there’d just be like… he’d be kind of be shaking them at us, but he wouldn’t be able to keep them [his hands] still.
And, well, I’d like to say I don’t agree with that kind of behaviour. It’s really disrespectful of school kids, and of us to have done that to him. So, um, yeah it’s probably too late now Mr B, but I’m sorry for that, I’m sorry that everyone made you throw a wobbly in our class.
But that’s today’s idiom, that is, “throwing a wobbly” and it means to really, really be super angry, and to go crazy with anger that you can’t even stay still.
Okay, that’s today’s idiom, thanks for listening and I’ll see you next time. Bye
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