touch a (raw) nerve

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touch a (raw) nerve

To evoke a strong emotional reaction, such as anger, sadness, or disgust, upon being encountered, heard, read, etc. Your column must have touched a nerve, because we are getting slammed with feedback from readers—and they're not happy. I could tell he was touching a raw nerve when he brought up Jane's former employer and Jane went silent for a moment.
See also: nerve, touch

touch a nerve

or

touch a raw nerve

COMMON If something that you say touches a nerve or touches a raw nerve, it upsets someone, because you have mentioned a subject that they feel strongly about or are very sensitive about. I realised I had touched a nerve with my remarks. Buchanan's speech touched a raw nerve here at the Capitol. Note: You can also use other verbs such as strike or hit instead of touch. She seemed to strike a nerve when she asked Dr. Lowe about his past life. His remarks clearly hit a raw nerve with congressional Democrats.
See also: nerve, touch

touch (or hit) a (raw) nerve

provoke a reaction by referring to a sensitive topic.
See also: nerve, touch
References in periodicals archive ?
The best of your emails and texts Touching a nerve I obviously touched a raw nerve at Donny (Letters, August 13).
Her tragic story - and almost bitter words about how she no longer had a will to live - touched a raw nerve with many.
BILLY DAVIES touched a raw nerve after Derby's latest awayday blank with a warning shot for his board: "The league table doesn't lie - but our spending doesn't lie either.
In the wider scheme of things, it may not have been the biggest issue being debated today, but it certainly touched a raw nerve with thousands.
IT seems that I touched a raw nerve among Plaid supporters when I raised the whole issue of the credibility of their policies in my letter (Daily Post, April 26).
Even so, the campaign touched a raw nerve in Israel.