We try hard not to, but from time to time we all annoy each other. It’s just inevitable. Sometimes we annoy each other with things that we say and sometimes with our actions. So how do we talk about this when it happens? Well, there are a lot of phrases to express annoyance, many of them idiomatic. Let’s take a look at the most frequent of them.
Some idioms in this area are quite vivid. (Idioms that form strong images in the mind are sometimes easier to remember.) For example, someone who annoys other people may be said to ruffle their feathers – or simply ‘ruffle feathers’. (If you ruffle a surface, you cause it to be no longer smooth by moving your hand over it.): James ruffled a few feathers when he started work here.
Many idioms that mean ‘to annoy someone’ relate to the body. For example, there’s the informal, British idiom to put/get someone’s back up: He always assumes that he knows more than anyone else and it gets people’s backs up. Less pleasantly, British English also has the idiom to get (right) up someone’s nose: Her manner is so patronizing and it gets right up my nose! Another idiom with this meaning is to get under someone’s skin: Two of my colleagues chat the whole day long and it’s starting to get under my skin.
Meanwhile, to rub someone up the wrong way (US rub someone the wrong way) is to annoy someone, but usually without intending to. Interestingly, this is often said of people who often annoy others in this way: Emily seems to have a habit of rubbing people up the wrong way. She just has an unfortunate manner.
A very common phrasal verb in British English meaning ‘to annoy someone’ is to wind someone up: It really winds me up when he says we don’t help him. We’re always helping him! Another frequent phrasal verb with this meaning is to get to someone: She’s been criticizing me all morning and it’s starting to get to me. / Don’t let him get to you!
The verb drive is in a number of informal phrases that mean ‘to annoy someone’, for example to drive someone crazy/mad/nuts: She whistles all the time and it drives me mad. Two even more emphatic ‘drive’ phrases are to drive someone around the bend and to drive someone up the wall: He never stops talking and it drives me up the wall.
I wonder if you have any similar phrases with this meaning in your language?