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cross [someone’s] bows To annoy, displease, or offend; to overstep one’s bounds and behave inappropriately toward another person. This expression has nautical origins. When one ship passes in front of another, crossing her path, the first is said to “cross the bows” of the second. Such a move is considered dangerous and a breach of the rules of the road. Both the nautical and figurative meanings are in use today.
drive up the wall To plague or badger someone to the breaking point; to drive someone “crazy” by repeated harassment. This slang expression brings to mind the picture of someone literally climbing the wall of an enclosing space to escape the source of annoyance. One so driven is said to climb the wall.
get [someone’s] back up To anger or provoke. The reference is to the way a cat arches its back when angered or threatened. This expression appeared as early as 1728 in The Provok’d Husband by Sir John Vanbrugh and Colley Cibber.
get [someone’s] dander up To arouse someone’s anger or temper. There are two theories as to the origin of the phrase. One hypothesis suggests that dander derives from dandruff ‘the scurf of the scalp.’ Another theory is based on the meaning of dander as ferment used in making molasses in the West Indies. By extension ferment means ‘agitation or tumult.’ Thus, to get someone’s dander up is to provoke and agitate him. This expression dates at least from 1831, when it appeared in the American Comic Annual by H. J. Finn.
get [someone’s] Dutch up To arouse someone’s ire, to madden; also get [someone’s] Irish or Indian up. Although the exact origins of these expressions are unknown, they would seem to be references to the reputed hotheaded nature of the nationalities in question. Barrere and Leland’s Dictionary of Slang, Jargon and Cant (1888) offers the following:
Irish, Indian, Dutch (American), all of these words are used to signify anger or arousing temper. But to say that one has his “Indian up,” implies a great degree of vindictiveness, while Dutch wrath is stubborn but yielding to reason.
get [someone’s] goat To annoy or irritate; to antagonize or frustrate a person. The expression is synonymous with the French prendre la chèvre, literally ‘to take the goat.’ The phrase, in general use since World War I, implies the prodding of someone to anger or irritability.
“You certainly got my goat” she said in the quaint American fashion, “telling me little No-no was too fat.” (H. L. Wilson, Ruggles of Red Gap, 1915)
get [someone’s] hackles up To irritate or annoy; to anger, often with pugilistic potential. This expression stems from the sport of cock-fighting; hackles are the long, shiny feathers on the neck of certain birds such as gamecocks. When confronted by its opponent, a gamecock reacts with a show of strength, causing its hackles to become erect. Through the years, this expression and the related get [someone’s] dander up (where dander may be a corruption of dandruff, thus implying hair) have been applied to dogs and cats. When these animals are threatened, the hair on their neck involuntarily stands on end. Eventually, the figurative use to describe a person became common.
As my hackles were now fairly up, I crept and ran as well as I could after my wounded game. (Clive Phillipps-Wolley, Sport in the Crimea and Caucasus, 1881)
get [someone’s] monkey up To anger or provoke. The reference is to the irritable and irascible temperament of monkeys. Used as early as 1863 in Tyne-side Songs, the expression is originally British and has never been common in the United States.
ruffle feathers To anger, irritate, annoy; to disturb, upset, agitate. When a bird is threatened or challenged, the feathers on its back and neck become ruffled, that is, erect, in a show of strength and apparent anger. This expression is applied figuratively to describe a manifestation of a person’s anger.
The dean ruffled his plumage, and said with asperity … (Frederic Farrar, Julian Home, 1859)
|Noun||1.||vexation - anger produced by some annoying irritation|
anger, ire, choler - a strong emotion; a feeling that is oriented toward some real or supposed grievance
frustration - a feeling of annoyance at being hindered or criticized; "her constant complaints were the main source of his frustration"
harassment, torment - a feeling of intense annoyance caused by being tormented; "so great was his harassment that he wanted to destroy his tormentors"
displeasure - the feeling of being displeased or annoyed or dissatisfied with someone or something
|2.||vexation - the psychological state of being irritated or annoyed|
mental condition, mental state, psychological condition, psychological state - (psychology) a mental condition in which the qualities of a state are relatively constant even though the state itself may be dynamic; "a manic state"
bummer - an experience that is irritating or frustrating or disappointing; "having to stand in line so long was a real bummer"
pinprick - a minor annoyance
snit - a state of agitated irritation; "he was in a snit"
|3.||vexation - something or someone that causes anxiety; a source of unhappiness; "New York traffic is a constant concern"; "it's a major worry"|
negative stimulus - a stimulus with undesirable consequences
bugaboo - a source of concern; "the old bugaboo of inflation still bothers them"
burden, encumbrance, onus, incumbrance, load - an onerous or difficult concern; "the burden of responsibility"; "that's a load off my mind"
business - a rightful concern or responsibility; "it's none of your business"; "mind your own business"
|4.||vexation - the act of troubling or annoying someone|
mistreatment - the practice of treating (someone or something) badly; "he should be punished for his mistreatment of his mother"
exasperation - actions that cause great irritation (or even anger)
red flag - something that irritates or demands immediate action; "doing that is like waving a red flag in front of a bull"