drive up the wall


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Related to drive up the wall: at first blush, worse for wear, driving a hard bargain

drive (one) up the wall

To annoy or frustrate one to the point of exasperation. A week on vacation with my relatives is enough to drive me up the wall. That loud beeping noise is driving me up the wall!
See also: drive, up, wall

drive someone up the wall

Fig. to annoy or irritate someone. Stop whistling that tune. You're driving me up the wall. All his talk about moving to California nearly drove me up the wall.
See also: drive, up, wall

drive/send somebody up the ˈwall

(informal) make somebody very annoyed; drive somebody crazy: That noise is driving me up the wall.
See also: drive, send, somebody, up, wall

drive (someone) up the wall, to

To harry someone to the point of mad desperation. The image here is forcing a person to escape a pest by literally climbing up and over a wall. An earlier version was to drive to the wall, the wall being as far as one could go to escape. It dates from the sixteenth century. “I am in this matter euen at the harde walle, and se not how to go further,” wrote Sir Thomas More (1557). The current cliché dates from the twentieth century, and probably comes from the behavior of an addict deprived of drugs or alcohol who actually tries to climb the walls of a room or cell in desperation (see also drive to drink). However, it is most often used to express exasperation at being “driven crazy”: “‘Mad as a hatter,’ said Gillian Soames complacently. ‘Stark raving bonkers. Up the wall. Round the twist’” (Robert Barnard, Death and the Chaste Apprentice, 1989).
See also: drive, up