pull (one's) chain(redirected from pulling their chains)
pull (one's) chain
To tease one, often by trying to convince them of something that isn't true. Quit pulling my chain, I know there isn't a Hollywood director calling me right now. I love pulling my sister's chain—it's almost too easy to fool her.
pull someone's chain
1. Make someone speak out of turn, as in Who pulled your chain?-It's none of your business. [1920s]
2. Make someone angry, especially deliberately, as in Teenagers really know how to pull their parents' chains. [c. 1960] Both usages allude to the literal sense of chain-pulling, that is, "causing someone to do something, as though activated by a chain."
pull someone's chainor
yank someone's chainAMERICAN, INFORMAL
If you pull someone's chain or yank their chain, you tease them about something, for example by telling them something which is not true. I glared at her, and she smiled. When would I learn to smarten up and ignore her when she pulled my chain? Note: The image here is of someone teasing a dog by pulling the chain that it is tied up with.