ruffle

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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 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.
See also: feather, few, ruffle

ruffle some feathers

To do something which annoys, irritates, or upsets other people. I know my presentation about the effects of climate change are going to ruffle some feathers, but I have got to raise awareness about this issue! Harry's bombastic, arrogant demeanor tends to ruffle some feathers, but he's a decent guy at heart.
See also: feather, ruffle

ruffle up

1. To mess up the smooth surface of something by making individual parts stand on end. A noun or pronoun can also be used between "ruffle" and "up." The cat really hates it if you ruffle up its fur by stroking it back to front. My uncle always ruffles my hair up when he sees me.
2. To cause one's hair or clothes to become disheveled or disordered through physical means. A noun or pronoun can be used between "ruffle" and "up." My brother always tries to ruffle me up just after I've finished getting my hair and clothes exactly the way I want them. The photographer ruffled up his model for the photoshoot.
3. To irritate, upset, or distress someone. A noun or pronoun can be used between "ruffle" and "up." I think your comments really ruffled up the boss. The news had ruffled me up, but I knew I had to keep doing my job.
4. To bully or harass someone using physical force. (A less common variant of "rough up.") A noun or pronoun can be used between "ruffle" and "up." Take some men and go ruffle the witness up a bit. Make sure he knows what'll happen if he testifies in court.
5. To cause some situation or arrangement to become disturbed, disordered, or ruined. A noun or pronoun can be used between "ruffle" and "up." The board of directors is eager not to ruffle up the business relationships they've built overseas. The new senator has made it clear that she intends to ruffle up the political status quo in Washington.
See also: ruffle, up

smooth (one's) ruffled feathers

To attempt to calm or placate someone who is annoyed, irritated, or upset. I had to go and smooth my parents' ruffled feathers after my husband criticized them at dinner. The company has been in damage-control mode after the disastrous presentation, with the CEO trying to smooth investor's ruffled feathers.
See also: feather, ruffle, smooth
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

ruffle its feathers

[for a bird] to point its feathers outward. The bird ruffled its feathers when it was annoyed. My parrot ruffles its feathers whenever it is ready to preen itself.
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 something up

to raise something, such as feathers, up or outward. The bird ruffled its feathers up and started to preen. It ruffled up its feathers.
See also: ruffle, up
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

ruffle someone's feathers

Annoy or offend someone, as in Calling him a tightwad really ruffled his feathers. This term alludes to the stiffened, upright feathers of an angry bird. [Mid-1800s]
See also: feather, ruffle
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.

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

smooth (someone's) ruffled feathers

If someone smooths ruffled feathers or smooths someone's ruffled feathers, they do something to make people less angry after an argument or a problem. He acted swiftly to smooth the family's ruffled feathers. Eva generally keeps things moving and smooths ruffled feathers.
See also: feather, ruffle, smooth
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

ruffle someone's feathers

cause someone to become annoyed or upset.
See also: feather, ruffle

smooth someone's ruffled feathers

make someone less angry or irritated by using soothing words.
See also: feather, ruffle, smooth
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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

smooth (somebody’s) ruffled ˈfeathers

make somebody feel less angry or offended: Her note of apology was meant to smooth ruffled feathers, but it only seemed to make things worse. OPPOSITE: ruffle somebody’s/a few feathers
See also: feather, ruffle, smooth
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

ruffle up

v.
To make some surface less smooth by partially lifting the individual parts that make up that surface: The wind ruffled up the bird's feathers. Don't ruffle my hair up.
See also: ruffle, up
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Feather ruffler My coverage decrying WB's cancellation of "Angel" resonated worldwide, with thousands of postcards and letters sent from nearly every continent as fans rallied to keep this marvelous dark-fantasy franchise going.
Mr Ruffler added: "The jury had a tough job in choosing the RIBA NW Regional Award winners from a shortlist of very impressive buildings from across the region, but were in agreement that the six winners exhibited particular qualities that set them apart from the others."
STRINDBERG, S., MAISELS, F., WILLIAMSON, E.A., BLAKE, S., STOKES, E.J., ABA'A, R., ABITSI, G., AGBOR, A., AMBAHE, R.D., BAKABANA, P.C., BECHEM, M., BERLEMONT A., BOKOTO DE SEMBOLI, B., BOUNDJA, P.R., BOUT, N., BREUER, T., CAMPBELL, G., DE WACHTER, P., ELLA AKOU, M., ESONO MBA, F., FEISTNER, A.T.C., FOSSO, B., FOTSO, R., GREER, D., INKAMBA-NKULU, C., IYENGUET, C.F., JEFFERY, K.J., KOKANGOYE, M., KUHL, H.S., LATOUR, S., MADZOKE, B., MAKOUMBOU, C., MALANDA, G.-A.F., MALONGA, R., MBOLO, V., MORGAN, D.B., MITSABA, P., MOUKALA, G., MOWAWA, B.S., MURAI, M., NDZAI, C., NISHIHARA, T., NZOOH, Z., PINTEA, L., POKEMPNER, A., RAINEY, H.J., RAYDEN, T., RUFFLER, H., SANZ, C.M., TODD, A., VANLEEUWE, H., VOSPER, A., WARREN, Y., WILKIE, D.S.
Two heats of a 305m maiden sprint open can go to Richard Devenish's Hare Ruffler (8.22) and, post-Bags, Savva Roberts' Lacken Decco (10.00).
As a child in the 1950s he made contraptions, struggling to get them to work, until he got a Saturday job with coin-operated machines manufacturer Ruffler and Walker.
'Why in God's name did he bring me?' The actor in Nick recognised the showmanship in the man, a Mercutio born, a ruffler who would die with a jest on his lips.
Anacap on the other hand was the first equity house to invest in a British bank, Ruffler Bank, in 2009.
Event organiser Jessica Ruffler said a number of families also entered the competition, and their efforts had created considerable interest on the beach at West Kirby.
Robert Ruffler and James Bacon, from Polar Ford, gave a talk to pupils about how to stay safe on the roads in the winter weather.