To cause or get into trouble; to engage in unrestrained and excessively disruptive behavior. (A reference to the biblical figure Cain, the first son of Adam and Eve, who killed his brother Abel and was cursed by God.) I started raising Cain as soon as I was in college and could do what I wanted, but I mellowed out after I graduated. The customer has been raising Cain about the service charge we included on his bill.
1. To cause a lot of serious issues or disruptions (for someone or something). The road closures have raised hell in this whole area. The blizzard is raising hell with travelers flying in and out of the region.
2. To cause or get into trouble; to engage in unrestrained and excessively disruptive behavior. I raised a lot of hell when I was in high school, but I settled down a bit after I graduated. The local gang has been raising hell in this town for years.
3. To make a lot of angry, vocal complaints with someone or some group, department, organization, etc. The problem isn't going to go away on its own—you need to go raise some hell so HR knows what's going on. The customer has been raising hell about the service charge we included on his bill.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
to make a lot of trouble; to raise hell. (A Biblical reference, from Genesis 4.) Fred was really raising Cain about the whole matter. Let's stop raising Cain.
(with something) Go to raise the devil (with something).
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Also, raise hell or the devil . Behave in a rowdy or disruptive way, as in He said he'd raise Cain if they wouldn't give him a refund, or The gang was out to raise hell that night, or The wind raised the devil with our picnic. The first term alludes to the son of Adam and Eve who killed his brother, Abel. It was first recorded in the St. Louis Daily Pennant (May 2, 1840): "Why have we every reason to believe that Adam and Eve were both rowdies? Because ... they both raised Cain.". This statement makes a pun on raise, meaning "bring up" or "nurturing." The two variants, alluding to bringing hell or the devil up to this world, are older, the first from about 1700, the second from about 1800.
see under raise Cain.
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.
1. If someone raises hell, they cause trouble by behaving badly in public, for example by getting drunk and breaking things. When he wasn't playing football or training, he was going out with his mates and raising hell. Note: A hell-raiser is someone who frequently causes trouble by behaving badly in public. In his youth he had a reputation for being a hell-raiser. Note: Hell-raising can be used as a noun to describe behaviour like this, or as an adjective to describe a person or their behaviour. He was notorious for his hell-raising and heavy drinking. The hell-raising actor was fined £63 with £20 costs yesterday.
2. If someone raises hell about a situation, they complain very angrily about it. If you wake them, they'll raise hell. She came in and raised hell. Her son's sports bag was missing.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
raise Caincreate trouble or a commotion. informal
The sense of raise in this expression is that of summoning a spirit, especially an evil one; similar sayings include raise the Devil and raise hell . A mid 19th-century expression originating in the USA, the particular form raise Cain is possibly a euphemism to avoid using the words Devil or hell . Cain, according to the biblical book of Genesis, was the first murderer.
raise hell1 make a noisy disturbance. 2 complain vociferously. informal
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
raise ˈCain/ˈhell(informal) complain or protest noisily and angrily, often as a way of getting something you want: He’ll raise hell if we don’t finish on time. ▶ ˈhell-raiser noun a violent and destructive person Cain was the first murderer in the Bible.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
tv. to make a lot of trouble; to raise hell. Fred was really raising Cain about the whole matter.
1. tv. to make a lot of trouble; to go on a rampage. Stop raising hell so much of the time!
2. tv. to go on a drinking spree and get drunk. Let’s go out and really raise hell.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.