cross as a bear(redirected from as cross as a bear)
(as) cross as a bear
Exceptionally irritable, annoyed, or grumpy. John is always cross as a bear first thing in the morning; it's best not to even talk to him until he's had his coffee. Janet was as cross as a bear when she found out she had missed her connecting flight.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
cross as a bear
Grumpy, ill-humored, annoyed, as in Stay away from Claire; she's cross as a bear this morning. Unlike the earlier cross as two stocks, this survives even though the adjective cross for "ill-tempered" is otherwise not used much in America. It is sometimes amplified as cross as a bear with a sore head. [Early 1700s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
cross as a bear
Irascible, peevish, vexed, cantankerous. This simile dates from the late eighteenth century and has survived as a cliché on both sides of the Atlantic even though the adjective cross for “angry” is heard less frequently in America. Why a bear should be considered particularly prone to anger is not entirely clear, and indeed, over the years writers have amplified the description somewhat—for example, “cross as a bear with a sore head,” “mad as a beaten bear,” “grumbled like a bear with a sore ear.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer