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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.
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.
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.
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.
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