rub the wrong way

Idioms & Phrases

rub the wrong way

Irritate, annoy, as in His remarks about welfare rubbed a great many people the wrong way. This idiom alludes to rubbing an animal's fur in the wrong direction. [Mid-1800s] Also see ruffle someone's feathers.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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