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In a state of extreme agitation or excitement, as in She was beside herself when she found she'd lost her ring, or Peter was beside himself with joy—he'd won the poetry award. This phrase appears in the New Testament (Acts 26:24): “Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning makes thee mad.” [Late 1400s]
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.