Idioms Relating To Anger, Irritation

by Prashant Kumar Sharma

  1. To be up in arms If you are up in arms about something, you are very angry.
    “The population was up in arms over the demolition of the
    old theatre.”
  2. Get off my back! If you tell somebody to get off your back, you ask them to stop
    finding faults or criticizing you.
  3. A bad hair day Originating as a humorous comment about one’s hair being
    unmanageable, this term has broadened to mean ‘a day
    when everything seems to go wrong’.
    “What’s wrong with Jenny? Is she having a bad hair day?”
  4. Bite someone’s head off If you bite someone’s head off, you criticize them strongly
    (and perhaps unfairly).
    “I worked 10 hours a day all week and my boss bit my head
    off for not doing my share of the work!”
  5. Blow a fuse If you blow a fuse, you suddenly lose your temper and become
    very angry.
    “Charlie blew a fuse yesterday when he discovered that his
    ipod had been stolen.”
  6. Blow your top If you blow  your top, you suddenly become very angry.
    “When my mother saw the state of the apartment after the party,
    she blew her top!”
  7. In somebody’s good/bad books If you are in somebody’s good or bad books, you have their
    approval or disapproval.
    “I’m in my wife’s bad books at the moment because I forgot our
    wedding anniversary!”
  8. Cheesed off If someone is cheesed off with something, they are annoyed,
    bored or frustrated.
    “Julie is absolutely cheesed off with her job.
  9. For crying out loud This expression is used to show irritation, exasperation or anger.
    For crying out loud! Turn that television off!”
  10. Cut it out! If you say cut it out to someone, you are telling them to stop doing
    “I’ve had enough of your insinuations, so just cut it out!”
  11. Drive up the wall If somebody or something drives you up the wall, they do something
    that greatly annoys or irritates you.
    “I can’t concentrate with all the noise – it’s driving me up the wall!”
  12. Fly off the handle A person who flies off the handle becomes suddenly very angry.
    “Dad flew off the handle when I told him I had damaged his
    new car.”
  13. Foam at the mouth Someone who foams at the mouth is extremely angry about
    “The director was foaming at the mouth when he saw a picture
    of his children in the newspaper.”
  14. Get your knickers in a twist.  If you get your knickers in twist, you are angry, nervous or upset
    faced with a difficult situation
    “Don’t get your knickers in a twist!  Everything is under control.”
  15. Get in someone’s hair If you are getting in somebody’s hair, you are annoying
    them so much that they can’t get on with what they’re doing.
    “I’d finish the report more quickly if my colleague wasn’t getting
    in my hair all the time!”
  16. Give it a rest! If someone tells you to give it a rest, they are asking you to stop
    doing something such as complaining or talking continuously.
    “All you talk about is politics – give it a rest…please! ”
  17. Give someone a tongue-lashing When you scold someone severely, you give them a tongue-
    “The teacher gave Jeremy a tongue-lashing when he arrived late
    for school.”
  18. Go off the deep end A person who goes off the deep end becomes suddenly
    very angry or emotional.
    “The old lady went off the deep end when her cat was killed.”
  19. Go through the roof If someone goes through the roof, they become very angry
    “His father went through the roof when Paul damaged his new car.”
  20. Good riddance! This expression is used to express relief at becoming free of an
    unpleasant or unwanted person or thing.
    “Our horrible neighbour has moved house, and all I can say is
    good riddance’!
  21. Hot under the collar If you get hot under the collar, you feel annoyed, indignant or
    “If anyone criticizes his proposals, Joe immediately gets hot
    under the collar.”
  22. Make a song and dance If someone complains in an annoying way or becomes
    unnecessarily excited about something unimportant, they
    make a song and dance
    about it.
    “OK. You don’t like carrots! There’s no need to make a song
    and dance about it!”
  23. Kick yourself If you feel like kicking yourself, you are angry with yourself for
    something you have done or not done.
    “I could have kicked myself for forgetting Julie’s birthday.”
  24. Like a red flag to a bull To say that a statement or action is like a red flag to a bull
    means that it is sure to make someone very angry or upset.
    “Don’t mention Tom’s promotion to Mike.  It would be like a red
    flag to a bull!
  25. Like a ton of bricks If somebody comes down on you like a ton of bricks, they criticize
    you severely because you have done something wrong.
    “If you mix up the order the boss will come down on you like a
    ton of bricks!”
  26. Have a quick temper If you have a quick temper, you get angry very easily.
    “He makes me nervous – he’s got such a quick temper.”
  27. Rant and rave If you rant and rave about something, you protest noisily and
    “The old man ranted and raved about the new waste collection
    system, but he had to accept it.”
  28. Rap on the knuckles If someone gets a rap on/across the knuckles, they are
    punished or reprimanded, not very severely, but as a reminder
    not to do that again.
    “Andy got a rap on the knuckles for coming  home late.”

29.  Road rage Aggressive driving habits sometimes resulting in violence against
other drivers.
“A number of car accidents today are a result of road rage.”

30.  Short fuse When someone has a short fuse, they are likely to become
angry easily or quickly.
“Be careful how you explain the situation. The boss has a very
short fuse these days!”

  1. See red If someone sees red, they suddenly become very angry or a
    nnoyed about something.
    “Discrimination of any kind makes me see red!”
  2. Smooth somebody’s ruffled feathers If you smooth somebody’s ruffled feathers, you make that
    person feel less angry or offended.
    “Tom took the criticism badly, but James managed to smooth
    his ruffled feathers”
  3. Steamed up If someone is or gets steamed up about something, they
    become very angry, excited or enthusiastic about it.
    “Calm down – there’s no need to get all steamed up about it! “
  4. A storm is brewing To say that a storm is brewing means that the atmosphere
    indicates that there is going to be trouble, probably with outbursts
    of anger or emotion.
    “As soon as we saw Pete’s face, we knew there was a storm
  5. Tear a strip off someone If you tear a strip off someone, you reprimand them severely
    for doing something wrong.
    “The teacher tore a strip off Charlie for being late again.”
  6. That makes my blood boil! If something makes your blood boil, it makes you really angry.
    “His condescending attitude made my blood boil!”
  7. That’s going too far! If you go too far, you do something that is considered extreme or
    “Stealing is bad, but stealing from a poor person – that’s
    going too far
  8. That takes the biscuit! This expression refers to something very irritating or annoying.
    “After waiting for an hour, we were told that there were no seats
    That really took the biscuit!
  9. That’s the last straw! The expression means that this is the latest unpleasant event,
    and that you cannot tolerate the situation any longer.
    “The kids are screaming, dinner is not ready, and now the dog
    has run away  – that’s the last straw!
  10. Vent your spleen When you vent your spleen, you release or express all your
    anger about something.
    “Whenever Jack is angry about new government measures,
    he vents his spleen by writing to newspapers.”
  11. Wink of sleep If someone doesn’t get a wink of sleep, they don’t sleep at all.
    “It was so noisy in the hotel, I didn’t get a wink of sleep.”


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