rub (one) the wrong way(redirected from rubbed them the wrong way)
rub (one) the wrong way
To irritate one due to someone or something's presence, nature, or habitual behavior (as opposed to directly and intentionally). Primarily heard in US. The way she smiles all the time really rubs me the wrong way. It seems so fake. He's always talking about how those commercials rub him the wrong way, but I think they're cute.
rub someone('s fur) the wrong way
Fig. to irritate someone. I'm sorry I rubbed your fur the wrong way. I didn't mean to upset you. Don't rub her the wrong way!
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.
rub (someone) the wrong way
To annoy; irritate: "One can see ... how [his] expression of his ideals and intentions must have rubbed many people the wrong way" (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt).