Idioms for anger – English Idioms – Online English Lessons

Here are some useful expressions for expressing or talking about anger.

gets one’s goat

If something annoys or irritates you, it gets your goat.

It’s thought this expression might have its origins in horse racing. Nervous racing horses were kept with goats in order to keep them calm. If a horse’s goat companion was lost or stolen, the horse would get very anxious and nervous and might lose the race.

Examples of use:

1. It really gets my goat when people push in front of me in a queue.

2. That postman gets my goat: he never shuts the gate.

to be on the warpath

If someone is on the warpath they are angry and looking for the person who has angered them, in order to confront them or start a fight.

Examples of use:

1. She is on the warpath after discovering that her personal photos were published online.

2. Look out: dad’s on the warpath. He’s knows that you borrowed his car without asking.

to see red

If a person sees red they are very angry.

It is thought this expression might have its origins in bull-fighting where a red cape is used to attract and anger the bull.

Examples of use:

1. I saw red when the van driver drove into the back of my car.

2. I didn’t mean to punch him: I just saw red.

to throw a wobbly

To throw a wobbly is to suddenly lose one’s self-control and become angry.

British and Australian English.

Examples of use:

1. His girlfriend threw a wobbly when she saw him looking at another girl.

2. OK, don’t throw a wobbly. I said I’m sorry.

getting on my nerves

If someone is getting on your nerves, they are doing something that is irritating or bothering you.

Examples of use:

1. Will you stop whistling! You’re getting on my nerves.

2. My neighbours children are playing in the garden and they’re really getting on my nerves with their shouting and screaming.

makes one’s blood boil

If something makes your blood boil, it makes you very angry.

Examples of use:

1. It makes my blood boil to think that he won’t be punished for his crime.

2. It makes my blood boil when I see people using their mobile phones while driving.

(almost) burst a blood vessel

To burst a blood vessel is to become very angry about something.

Usually used in a humorous way.

Examples of use:

1. My dad nearly burst a blood vessel when I crashed his car!

2. My mum almost burst a blood vessel when she saw my tattoo.

to be hopping mad

To be hopping mad is to be extremely angry. So angry that you are almost jumping / hopping around with rage.

Examples of use:

1. His parents were hopping mad when he broke the window.

2. He was hopping mad when I was promoted to Office Manager before him.

go ballistic

To go ballistic is to become violently and uncontrollably angry.

Examples of use:

1. Our boss went ballistic when he saw this month’s accounts.

2. Before you go ballistic; I just want you to know it was an accident.

blow your top (also, blow up, blow a gasket, and blow a fuse)

To blow up is to suddenly lose your temper (get very angry).

Examples of use:

1. Mum will blow her top when she sees the mess you’ve made.

2. We were having a discussion about the accounts and he suddenly blew up and stormed out.

Can you use one of these expressions in a sentence?

What makes your blood boil, or makes you hopping mad?

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