Also, blow a gasket. Lose one's temper, express furious anger. For example, When his paycheck bounced, John blew a fuse, or Tell Mom what really happened before she blows a gasket. An electric fuse is said to “blow” (melt) when the circuit is overloaded, whereas a gasket, used to seal a piston, “blows” (breaks) when the pressure is too high. The first of these slangy terms dates from the 1930s, the second from the 1940s. Also see blow one's top; keep one's cool.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.