Headless chickens

Frenzied chicken - with head, pic: mypetchicken.com

Running around like a headless chicken is a very colorful figure of speech for running around frenzied and without a plan.  It implies that the person behaving like the headless chicken is doing whatever she or he is doing very quickly and distractedly and without without thinking carefully about what you are doing

The origin of that expression is pretty obvious: after decapitation poultry sometimes runs around for several minutes in an uncoordinated and frenzied manner.

Another way of saying the same thing is: running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Here are some examples:

My colleague has been out sick the last week and so I have be running around like a headless chicken trying to do both my own work and his.

She lost her purse at the airport and was running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to find it.

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