smooth ruffled feathers

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia.

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
We need to spend time figuring out how to address this core issue and not continuously smooth ruffled feathers.
There was speculation that the Administration would use ex-Secretary of State Jim Baker's debt-moratorium sales mission to smooth ruffled feathers in France, Russia and Germany, angry over being blacklisted for Iraq reconstruction contracts.
This way Mr Brown can pre-empt them, and still leave a couple of weeks to smooth ruffled feathers if he overdoes the 'iron Chancellor' bit.
In an attempt to forestall any bad press about its new movie and to smooth ruffled feathers in China, Disney has hired former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as spokesman and goodwill ambassador.
Often, the moderator, or Juma, has to intervene to restore order and smooth ruffled feathers.
In some cases, CEOs can smooth ruffled feathers or seek to mediate disputes.