Angry Idioms: Figurative Language Examples That Describe Anger

Updated on March 1, 2018

Idioms are phrases, figures of speech, or expressions that stand for something other than what is being said. They are especially difficult for speakers who use English as a second language, because idioms are not necessarily predictable or immediately understandable when used out of context. The choice of an individual to use idioms, and which idioms to use, varies depending on social class, age, and geographical location.

Below is a list of 50 English language idioms that express anger.

Idioms to Describe Anger

  1. Hot under the collar.
  2. Up in arms.
  3. Foaming at the mouth.
  4. Steamed up.
  5. Fit to be tied.
  6. Bent out of shape.
  7. Doing a slow burn.
  8. Seeing red.
  9. Ticked off.
  10. Teed off.
  11. Pissed off.
  12. Flare up.
  13. Hit the roof.
  14. Go up the wall.
  15. Go off the deep end.
  16. A storms 'a brewing.
  17. She skinned me alive.
  18. Give it a rest.
  19. He was a red flag to a bull.
  20. Now that's the last straw!
  21. Fly off the handle.
  22. I want his head on a platter.
  23. He was angrier than a one armed paper hanger.
  24. Blow one's top.
  25. Drive me up the wall.
  26. That made my blood boil!
  27. For Pete's sake!
  28. Blow a fuse.
  29. Blow a gasket.
  30. Quit your harping.
  31. I stepped on her toes.
  32. He's more heat than light.
  33. Screaming bloody murder.
  34. Don't jump down my throat.
  35. Flip out.
  36. Have a bone to pick.
  37. You've got your knickers in a twist.
  38. Don't get your panties in a wad.
  39. Go ballistic.
  40. Bite [someone's] head off.
  41. For crying out loud!
  42. He was chewin' nails.
  43. He was spittin' rivets.
  44. She's just raggin' on me.
  45. Go postal.
  46. Flip one's wig.
  47. A bad hair day
  48. Blow one's stack.
  49. Have a conniption.
  50. Go bananas! (This can also mean to be very happy, depending on the context.)

Idiom Websites and Resources

  • The Idiom Connection - offers an alphabetized list of idioms as well as idioms in the areas of religion, sports, money, legal, food and others.
  • The Idiom Site - offers an alphabetized list of random, but common idioms.
  • - offers an interesting self test on idioms.

ESL Video Lesson

Questions & Answers

    © 2011 Marisa Hammond Olivares


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      • profile image

        roann penalosa 2 weeks ago

        what meaning of idioms

      • missolive profile image

        Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

        John Sarkis, I'm glad you enjoyed it and voted up. I appreciate it :)

      • John Sarkis profile image

        John Sarkis 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

        Great hub missolive. What can I say? (another figurative phrase...) I love philology very much. Thanks for putting together this wonderful and insightful article about Vernacularism in the USA

        Voted up


      • missolive profile image

        Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

        Victoria Lyn - Thank you Vicki! Yup, there are far more Angry Idioms than Happy Idioms. Thanks for the votes :)

      • Victoria Lynn profile image

        Victoria Lynn 6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

        Wow! Amazing that there are so many for anger! That's too cool. Nice hub. Many votes!

      • missolive profile image

        Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

        Docmo - Thank you. Finding and using different idioms is fun. I almost blew a gasket when I realized I had not responded to your comment, but I do appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

        Civil War Bob - Isn't that something? That made me sad as well. I hope to be able to add more HAPPY idioms along the way. I'm tickled pink that you came by. :)

        Millionair Tips - Hi Shasta! Yes, there are quite a few and I'm sure I left off boatloads of other angry idioms. Have fun adding these to your daily vocabulary. Thanks for reading and commenting :)

      • Millionaire Tips profile image

        Shasta Matova 6 years ago from USA

        Wow, there certainly are a lot of idioms to help describe how angry we are. No need for cussing when we have these. There were only a couple that I hadn't heard, but I think I would be able to recognize the anger behind them if I heard them.

      • Civil War Bob profile image

        Civil War Bob 6 years ago from Glenside, Pennsylvania

        I just read both Happy and Angry Idioms, missolive...both were well done. One sad thing I noticed is that you found twice as many angry idioms as happy ones. Seems as though there's a hub in that commentary on human nature. Oh, "happy as a hog in slop" would diminish the ratio a bit! Have a good day.

      • Docmo profile image

        Mohan Kumar 6 years ago from UK

        Great selection of idioms on blowing one's top. Nicely collated Missolive, loved recapping them. Voted up! .

      • missolive profile image

        Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

        Hi Natashaih! I had fun putting this together. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • Natashalh profile image

        Natasha 6 years ago from Hawaii

        Really fun collection. Thanks!

      • missolive profile image

        Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

        Sannel! Hi! LOL you are too funny! Thank you for reading and sharing! :)

      • SanneL profile image

        SanneL 6 years ago from Sweden

        Marisa - I enjoyed this hub as much as your happy idioms hub. I will not get my knickers in a twist over this one. Hehe!

      • profile image

        Pete Moss 6 years ago

        You're pretty cool, too, missolive ;-)

      • missolive profile image

        Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

        Deborah - glad I got a giggle out of you :)

      • DeborahNeyens profile image

        Deborah Neyens 6 years ago from Iowa

        This made me giggle. Thanks. : )

      • missolive profile image

        Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

        Pete Moss is Burning the Midnight Oil :)

      • profile image

        Pete Moss 6 years ago

        (One more thing about salt, then back to the topic: Roman soldiers were paid in salt. "Salary" comes from the Roman word for salt.)

      • profile image

        Pete Moss 6 years ago

        Salt was often used as payment for whatever was being sold, from work, to people, to animals, to land, to a boat, etc., etc., etc. If it needed to be paid for in any way, salt was always an acceptable method.

      • dallas93444 profile image

        Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

        Communication is a many splindid process. Each culture have their own idioms. The origins are intgeresting. An Example: "Not worth his salt," is from the bartering of slaves for salt.

        Thanks for sharing! Another flag up!

      • Sunshine625 profile image

        Linda Bilyeu 6 years ago from Orlando, FL

        Wow I use some of these and some I forgot about! I won't be going postal on this hub, it's awesome!!

      • dahoglund profile image

        Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

        I think foaming at the mouth was a metaphor for rabies.I notice a few of these like "bent out of shape" are fairly recent, if you consider 1960s recent.

      • missolive profile image

        Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

        Pete Moss - interesting name. :)

      • profile image

        Pete Moss 6 years ago

        Angry Idioms!

      • missolive profile image

        Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

        kerlynb - I'm very glad you enjoyed the hub. Foaming at the mouth has always made me think of a dog with rabies....yikes!

        Thank you for visiting and commenting

      • kerlynb profile image

        kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

        missolive, I'm a user of English as a Second Language and this hub just gave me 50 ways of saying "I'm mad!" Thank you sooooo much! BTW, "foaming at the mouth" is so visual! Like it :)

      • missolive profile image

        Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

        homesteadbound - those are great suggestions! It's interesting to see how many angry idioms revolve around the theme of heat.

        Glad you stopped by.

      • homesteadbound profile image

        Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

        how about letting off steam?

        or, that just gets my goat?

        or, that just steams me!

        Great hub. I liked the happy one too.

      • missolive profile image

        Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

        Techbook - thank you. Don't underestimate "techie" images - be creative :)

        Dex! So glad to see you stopped by! I just love idioms! I like to use them in the classroom - I challenge my students to use them with their other teachers (giggle)

        MovieMaster - glad you enjoyed the list. I've also wondered about #21 myself. I always imagine some sort of hot iron skillet - ouch!

      • Movie Master profile image

        Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

        A great 'fun' list, looking at number 21 'flying off the handle' I wonder how that came about!

        Thanks for sharing.

      • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

        Dexter Yarbrough 6 years ago from United States

        Hi Miss Olive! Ditto to my comment listed in the "Happy Idioms" hub! Great hub!

      • Techbook profile image

        Techbook 6 years ago from India

        I thought so as I spent some good time to figure it out but couldn't but hey the profile of your's look too stunning and colorful. I can't get the same though since I'm a techie and the subjects related to Tech can't be colorful hahahahahha. Thank you once again for the swift reply on this one.

      • missolive profile image

        Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

        Hi Tech - glad to see you stopped by. The "MissOlive's Favorite Topics" is generated by HubPages. I'm not sure how they gather the info, but it is a nice feature to have on our Profile's. They probably pick it up from the TOPICS we usually write about. If they are not showing up yet you probably still have just a few hubs - it should kick in eventually. Thanks for the question, MissOlive / Marisa

      • Techbook profile image

        Techbook 6 years ago from India

        Olive... thank you for that. I didn't get that first time until you wrote that to me. I'm so fortunate to follow you on this one. Now my hubs are looking much better. There is one more thing that I need to achieve. On your profile page how did you manage to get this one "Some of missolive's Favorite Topics" Was it from Hubpages or did you customize it.

        I wish i could send a Accolades for the tip you provided to me.

      • missolive profile image

        Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

        Hi Techbook - thank you for stopping by. Great question - it is actually very easy to achieve the sidebar. Any capsule that is reduced (click capsule arrow to right) and is on the right hand side can have color added. Just check the top of that particular capsule and you will see the option just under its respective title. Hope this helps! MissOlive

      • Techbook profile image

        Techbook 6 years ago from India

        Olive...Hubs on Idioms I wonder how you got that Grey Widget on your page. It's looking awesome with the layout.

        Is it the layout design or am I missing something. I'm sure I want to use in future.


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