ruffle feathers

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ruffle (one's) feathers

To annoy, irritate, or upset someone. Sarah's just teasing you. Don't let her ruffle your feathers like that! Harry's bombastic, arrogant demeanor tends to ruffle people's feathers, but he's a decent guy at heart.
See also: feather, ruffle

ruffle someone's feathers

Fig. to irritate or annoy someone. I didn't mean to ruffle his feathers. I just thought that I would remind him of what he promised us.
See also: feather, ruffle

ruffle feathers

COMMON If someone ruffles feathers, they say or do something which upsets or annoys people. His management style ruffled a few feathers. The tall Texan ruffled some English feathers with his remarks. Note: If a bird's feathers are ruffled they stand out from its body, for example because it is frightened or angry.
See also: feather, ruffle

ruffle somebody’s/a few ˈfeathers

(informal) annoy somebody by doing something that upsets and disturbs them: All this talk of a strike has clearly ruffled the management’s feathers. OPPOSITE: smooth (somebody’s) ruffled feathers
This refers to the way the wind disturbs the smooth surface of a bird’s feathers so that they stick out.
See also: feather, few, ruffle

ruffle someone's feathers, to

To irritate someone. The transfer of stiffened, upright feathers from angry birds to human beings took place around 1800. “The Dean ruffled his plumage and said, with some asperity . . . ,” wrote Frederic W. Farrar (Julian Home, 1859).
See also: ruffle
References in periodicals archive ?
I want to work with those who have the task of making sure the benefits happen from hosting the Olympics and Paralympics but I won't be afraid to ruffle feathers if I need to.
THE Bishop of Edinburgh doesn't just ruffle feathers - he tears them out in handfuls.
She is playing feisty Stella who will ruffle feathers along with husband Karl, portrayed by Taggart star John Michie, 54.
But the controversial comedian still manages to ruffle feathers.