ruffle somebody's/a few feathers
ruffle a few feathers
To do something which annoys, irritates, or upsets other people. I know my presentation about the effects of climate change is going to ruffle a few feathers, but I have got to raise awareness about this issue! Harry's bombastic, arrogant demeanor tends to ruffle a few feathers, but he's a decent guy at heart.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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.
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