He really rubs him up the wrong tree – Part 2

“My ol’ Pal” notes that there is a distinction between the American and the British idiom for annoying someone.   As usual, she is right.  The British say “he really rubs me up the wrong way”, while we in the States say “he really rubs me the wrong way”.    The speaker who uttered the subject malaphor might have been British as the mix-up makes even more sense, if a mix-up can make sense.  Incidentally, the origin of both phrases refers to the stroking of an animal’s fur in the wrong direction (from tail to head), causing the animal to become annoyed.  My cats certainly get very irritated with me when I do that.   Speaking of the Brits, they also use the phrase”rub up” to describe trying to recall something.

3 Comments on “He really rubs him up the wrong tree – Part 2”

  1. Brady, Edward says:


    I hope all is well in your partial retirement.

    A friend of mine said the following yesterday… “He rubbed his face in the wound”. I believe he was combining “rub your nose in it” and “rubbing salt in the wound”. Not sure if this one came up before.

    I am teaching week 2 with Michael. I am sure he will never be the same.

    Take care,


  2. Steven Oscar says:

    “Barking up the wrong tree” would be the other saying at play in this instance.

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