I was digging about Load-Balancers (computer networking stuff) and came across this expression: Sometimes it (Load-Balancer) sits down chewing the carpet while backends go idle ...

I guess "chewing the carpet" means wasting time here. Am I right? What exactly does it mean?


2 Answers 2


Apparently not, as can be seen here:

Chew, or chewing, the carpet is not in the OED but it is in Jonathon Green's Dictionary of Slang. Green describes it as being US slang from the 1950s and defines it as 'to lose emotional control, to have a temper tantrum'.

I think it came from "carpet biting", which means:

One (usually male) who gets into a fearful rage, a visible very angry man;

This expression came from about Hitler getting into insane rages and biting the rug.

  • 2
    Hitler? Really? Uh, I severely doubt that.
    – Marthaª
    Jul 6, 2011 at 13:33
  • 1
    @Martha: whether or not he actually did, Hitler is the source of the phrase: the same would apply if you were looking for the source of jokes about unitesticularity. Jul 6, 2011 at 15:34
  • 5
    @Tim: no, I mean I severely doubt Hitler had anything to do with either the origin or the popularization of the phrase. The, uh, quality of writing on the phrases.org post (or rather, the lack thereof), plus the lack of any citations, means that this origin is about as likely as little green men from Mars invading Zambia tomorrow.
    – Marthaª
    Jul 6, 2011 at 18:02
  • It might also be related to the tropish term "chewing the scenery" which generally means over-acting.
    – staticsan
    Aug 29, 2012 at 3:12
  • This fact about Hitler is also mentioned in Victor Suvorov's "The Icebreaker". Sep 21, 2012 at 14:28

Actually, according to John Toland’s biography of Hitler written in the 1980s, these incidents of chewing the edge of a carpet after a terrible yelling rage session by Hitler were witnessed by several of his inner circle and some of the High Command at Berchtesgaden in Bavaria.

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