Posted by ESC on October 24, 2002
In Reply to: "Jerking my Chain" posted by S. Alexander on October 23, 2002
: looking for origin of "jerking my chain". We have some ideas, but want to know if anyone is sure of origin. Thanks!
"YANK (SOMEONE AROUND/SOMEONE'S CHAIN) -- vb. American to mislead, deceive, harass or irrate. The image on which the expression is based is that of a chained or leashed animal or prisoner being thoughtlessly or maliciously jerked about or led in different directions..." From "The Dictionary of Contemporary Slang" by Tony Thorne (Pantheon Books, New York, 1990; originally published in Great Britain by Bloomsbury Publishing, 1990).