up in arms

“If you are up in arms about something, you are very angry.”
“The population was up in arms over the demolition of the old theatre.”

get off my back!

If you tell someone to get off your back, you are annoyed and ask them to stop finding fault or criticizing you.
“Liz, please, get off my back! You’ve been making comments about my work all morning!”

bear with a sore head

If someone is behaving like a bear with a sore head, they are very irritable and bad-tempered.
“When his team lost the match, Brad was like a bear with a sore head.”

bete noire

The French expression ‘bete noire’ (meaning black beast) is used to refer to a person or thing that you dislike or dread, or something that you find very annoying.
“My father’s bete noire is cigarette butts crushed on the lawn. That irritates him no end!”

bite someone’s head off

If you bite someone’s head off, you criticize them strongly (and perhaps unfairly).
“I worked 10 hours a day all week and my boss bit my head off for not doing my share of the work!”

bite someone’s head off

If you bite someone’s head off, you criticize them strongly (and perhaps unfairly).
“I worked 10 hours a day all week and my boss bit my head off for not doing my share of the work!”

(be) in a black mood

To be in a black mood means to be irritable, angry or even depressed.
“You’d better keep away from Bill today.  He’s in a black mood.”

blow a fuse

If you blow a fuse, you suddenly lose your temper and become very angry.
“Charlie blew a fuse yesterday then he discovered that his bike had been stolen.”

blow a gasket

When a furious person blows a gasket, they explode with anger.
“When the shop was burgled for the third time, the owner blew a gasket.”

blow your top

If you blow your top, you suddenly become very angry.
“When my mother saw the state of the house after the party, she blew her top!”

(have a) bone to pick with someone

If you have a bone to pick with someone, you are annoyed with them and want to talk to them about it.
“Mark wants to see the boss. He says he’s got a bone to pick with him.”

be cheesed off

If someone is cheesed off with something, they are annoyed, bored or frustrated.
“Jenny is absolutely cheesed off with her job.”

come down on someone like a ton of bricks

If someone comes down on you like a ton of bricks, they criticize you severely because you have done something wrong.
“If you mix up the order, the boss will come down on you like a ton of bricks!”

for crying out loud!

This expression is used to show irritation, exasperation or anger.
For crying out loud, turn that television off!”

cut it out!

If you say ‘cut it out’ to someone, you are telling them to stop doing something.
“I’ve had enough of your insinuations, so just cut it out!”

drive someone up the wall

If somebody or something drives you up the wall, they do something that greatly annoys or irritates you.
“I can’t concentrate with all the noise – it’s driving me up the wall.”

eat someone alive

If you criticize someone severely because you are angry with them, you eat them alive.
(You can also be eaten alive – bitten repeatedly –  by insects.)
“The boss will eat me alive if the report arrives late.”

fit to be tied

Someone who is fit to be tied is extremely irritated, upset or angry.
“Harry was fit to be tied when his dog dug up the flowers he had planted.”

a flea in your ear

If you are sent away with a flea in your ear, you are angrily reprimanded or rebuked for something you have done.
“When Andy tried to put the blame on Pete, he was sent away with a flea in his ear.”

flip your lid

If someone flips their lid (like boiling water can flip the lid off a pot), they become very angry or upset.
“Julie flipped her lid when she saw the state of her daughter’s bedroom.”

fly off the handle

A person who flies off the handle becomes suddenly very angry.
“Dad flew off the handle when I told him I had damaged his new car.”

foam at the mouth

Someone who foams at the mouth is extremely angry about something.
“The director was foaming at the mouth when he saw a picture of his children in the

get/take flak

If you get or take flak, you receive severe criticism for something you have done.
“Harry got a lot of flak for the way he handled the situation.”

get someone’s goat

Something that get someone’s goat annoys or irritates them.
“People who keep pushing when you’re standing in line really gets my goat!”

get your knickers in a twist

If you get your knickers in a twist, you are angry, nervous or anxious faced with a difficult situation.
“Don’t get your knickers in a twist! Everything is under control.”

get a rise out of somebody

If you make someone react angrily by jokingly saying something that you know will irritate them, you get a rise out of them.
“He gets a rise out of his daughter by asking her about her latest diet.”

get in someone’s hair

If you get in someone’s hair, you are annoying them so much that they cannot get on with what they are doing.
“I’d finish the report more quickly if my colleague wasn’t getting in my hair all the time!”

get on someone’s nerves

If you get on someone’s nerves, you annoy or irritate them a great deal.
“The boys next door are so noisy they’re getting on my nerves.”

give it a rest!

If someone tells you to give it a rest, they are asking you to stop doing something such as complaining or talking continuously.
“All you talk about is politics. Give it a rest … please!”

give someone a piece of your mind

If you tell someone exactly what you think, in a very angry manner, you give them a piece of your mind.
“Jack was so irritated by his neighbours’ behaviour that he decided to give them a piece of his mind. “

give the (rough) edge of your tongue

If you give the (rough) edge of your tongue, you scold someone severely or speak to them very aggressively or rudely.
“My boss was so angry that I really got the rough edge of his tongue.”

give someone a tongue-lashing

When you scold someone severely, you give them a tongue-lashing.
“The teacher gave Jeremy a tongue-lashing when he arrived late for school for the third time.”

the gloves are off!

This expression is used when there are signs that a fight is about to start.
“The two candidates are out of their seats. The gloves are off!

go ballistic

When someone goes ballistic, they become very angry.
“My dad went ballistic when he saw the state of the garden after the barbecue. “

go off the deep end

If a person goes off the deep end, they become so angry or upset that they cannot control their emotions.
“Eva will go off the deep end if her kids leave the kitchen in a mess again.”

go postal

If someone goes postal, they lose their temper and express their anger in a violent way.
“My parents will go postal when they see the state of the house!”

go spare

If you go spare you lose your temper completely.
“Lea’s dad would go spare if he knew how much she spent in London!”

go through the roof

If someone goes through the roof, they become very angry.
“My father went through the roof when Paul damaged his new car.”

good riddance!

This expression is used to express relief at becoming free of an unpleasant or unwanted person or thing.
“Our horrible neighbour has moved house, and all I can say is ‘good riddance’!”

harp on (about) something

If you harp on (about) something, you tire others by talking continuously and tediously about it.
“My parents are always harping on about my school results. “

haul (someone) over the coals

If you haul someone over the coals, you reprimand them harshly because they have done something wrong or incorrectly.
“Sam was hauled over the coals for the poor quality of his presentation.”

hit the roof / go through the roof

If you hit the roof, you are furious or become extremely angry.
“Their parents will hit the roof if they catch them smoking!”

hot under the collar

If you get hot under the collar, you feel annoyed, indignant or embarrassed.
“If anyone criticizes his proposals, Joe immediately gets hot under the collar.”

jump down someone’s throat

If someone jumps down another person’s throat, they suddenly start shouting at them in a very angry manner.
“When I said the instructions were not very clear, she jumped down my throat!

kick yourself

If you feel like kicking yourself, you are angry with yourself for something you have or have not done.
“I could have kicked myself for forgetting Emily’s birthday.”

like a red flag to a bull

To say that a statement or action is like a red flag to a bull means that it is sure to make someone very angry or upset
“Don’t mention Tom’s promotion to Mike. It would be like a red flag to a bull!

look daggers at someone

Someone who looks daggers at another looks at them very angrily.
“David looked daggers at Paul when he invited his new girlfriend to dance.”

lose your cool

Someone who loses their cool behaves in a bad-temepered manner or become angry, frantic or flustered.
“The customer lost his cool when the waiter spilt the wine.”

make your hackles rise

If someone or something makes your hackles rise, they make you angry.
“Her constant criticism really makes my hackles rise!”

make a song and dance about something

If someone complains in an annoying way or becomes unnecessarily excited about something unimportant, they make a song and dance about it.
“OK, you don’t like carrots. Don’t make a song and dance about it!”

mind your own business! (rude)

Telling someone to mind their own business is a (rude) way of saying that they are too interested in what others are doing, or that they are interfering in something that does not concern them.
“Don’t tell me what to do – just mind your own business!”

more heat than light

If a discussion or debate generates more heat than light, it causes anger or intense reaction but doesn’t clarify anything.
“The meeting that was held to discuss the problem generated more heat than light!”

(have a) quick temper

Someone who has a quick temper gets angry very easily.
“He makes me nervous – he’s got such a quick temper.”

rant and rave

If you rant and rave about something, you protest noisily and forcefully.
“The old man ranted and raved about the new waste collection system, but he had to accept it.”

road rage

Aggressive driving habits sometimes resulting in violence against other drivers is called road rage.
“A number of accidents today are a direct result of road rage.”

scream blue murder

People who scream blue murder shout or complain very loudly as if something very serious has happened.
“The crowd started screaming blue murder when the football match was interrupted.”

see red

If someone sees red, they suddenly become very angry or annoyed.
“Discrimination of any kind makes me see red.”

(have) a short fuse

When someone has a short fuse, they are likely to become angry easily or quickly.
“Be careful how you explain the situation. The boss has a short fuse these days!”

skin someone alive

If you are angry and threaten to skin someone alive, you mean that you are going to punish them severely.
“If that kid damages my car again, I’ll skin him alive!”

smooth someone’s ruffled feathers

If you smooth someone’s ruffled feathers, you make that person feel less angry or offended.
“Tom took the criticism badly but James managed to smooth his ruffled feathers.”

(get) steamed up about something

If someone gets steamed up about something, they become very angry, excited or enthusiastic about it.
“Calm down – there’s no need to get all steamed up about it!

step on someone’s toes

If you annoy or irritate someone by intervening in a situation that is their responsibility, you step on their toes.
“I could offer some advice but I’m afraid of stepping on someone’s toes.”

(something) sticks in your throat

If something sticks in your throat (or craw), it is very difficult to accept and makes you angry or resentful
“The way he treats women really sticks in my throat!”

a storm is brewing

If you say that a storm is brewing, you mean that the atmosphere indicates that there is going to be trouble, probably with outbursts of anger or emotion.
“As soon as we saw Pete’s face, we knew that a storm was brewing.”

tear a strip off someone

If you tear a strip off someone, you reprimand them severely for doing something wrong.
“The teacher tore a strip off Charlie for not doing his homework.”

tell someone a thing or two

If you tell someone a thing or two, you express you thoughts (usually criticism) very clearly.
“Let me tell you a thing or two about your son’s behaviour” said John to the boy’s father.

that makes my blood boil!

If something makes your blood boil, it makes you really angry.
“His condescending attitude towards women really makes my blood boil!”

go too far

If you go too far, you do something that is considered extreme or unacceptable.
“Stealing is bad, but stealing from a poor person is really going too far!”

that takes the biscuit!

This expression refers to something very annoying or irritating.
“After waiting for an hour, we were told there no seats left. That took the biscuit!”

that’s the last straw!

This expression means that this is the latest unpleasant event and that you cannot tolerate the situation any longer.
“After an extremely tiring day, when Joe saw the traffic jam he said : that’s the last straw!

throw a wobbly (or wobbler)

When someone, usually a capricious person, throws a wobbly, they have a fit of nerves or bad temper and lose all self-control.
“He’s very calm – not the sort of man to throw a wobbly if he doesn’t have a clean shirt!”

try someone’s patience

If you find it difficult to be patient with someone because of their irritating attitude or behaviour, you can say that they are trying your patience.
“His constant interruptions began to try the teacher’s patience.”

vent your spleen

When you vent your spleen, you release or express all your anger about something.
“Whenever Harry is angry about new government measures, he vents his spleen by writing to newspapers.”

want someone’s head on a platter

If someone makes you so angry that you want them to be punished, you want their head on a platter.
“He was so angry when he read the article about his family that he wanted the journalist’s head on a platter.”