get someone's back up, to
get (one's) back up
1. To become angry, hostile, defensive, or irritable. John got his back up when his parents brought up the subject of college.
2. To cause one to become angry, hostile, defensive, or irritable. Election season always gets my dad's back up. Few things get my back up like hearing about a poacher killing an endangered animal.
get back up
To return to an upright or standing position, especially after having fallen or after having sat or lain down. I know you just sat down, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to get back up—those are not your seats. He's taken a beating tonight, and this might be it for the champ. No, wait, he's getting back up!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
get someone's back up
Also, get someone's dander up; put or set someone's back up . Make angry, as in Bill's arrogance really got my back up, or The foolish delays at the bank only put her back up. Get one's back up and get one's dander up mean "become angry," as in Martha is quick to get her dander up. The back in these phrases alludes to a cat arching its back when annoyed, and put and set were the earliest verbs used in this idiom, dating from the 1700s; get is more often heard today. The origin of dander, used since the early 1800s, is disputed; a likely theory is that it comes from the Dutch donder, for "thunder." Also see get someone's goat; raise one's hackles.
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.
get someone's back upINFORMAL or
put someone's back upBRITISH, INFORMAL
If someone or something gets your back up or puts your back up, they annoy you. What does get my back up is a girlfriend who gets jealous if someone else finds me attractive. I thought before I spoke again. The wrong question was going to get her back up. The appointment took the whole office by surprise and at first seemed to put people's backs up. Note: This expression may refer to the way cats raise their backs when they are angry.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
get someone's back upmake someone annoyed or angry.
This phrase developed as an allusion to the way a cat arches its back when it is angry or threatened.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
get someone's back up, to
To make someone angry. The expression alludes to the behavior of the domestic cat, which arches its back when it is attacked by a dog or is otherwise annoyed. This term began in the early eighteenth century as to put or set up the back. By 1864 it was, “He goes his own way . . . if you put his back up” (Sunday Magazine). See also get someone's dander up.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer