Posted by Smokey Stover on March 02, 2006
In Reply to: Who rattled your cage?? Posted by John Emmerson on March 01, 2006
: who rattled your cage??
: v interested to know where this phrase comes from if anyone knows??
Rattling the cage is something likely to be done by children or by childish adults, when in the presence of caged animals. The children want to get the attention of the animal, which might be sleeping or looking the other way, so they make the cage rattle. This usually gets the animal's attention, and often annoys him as well.
For only the last few dozen years, expressions like "stop rattling my cage" have become fairly common. When you rattle someone's cage, it's not in order actually to accomplish something, it's just to annoy him or make your presence known in a not very nice way. (It's in the same league as "stop pulling my chain.") I'm can't be sure, but I think the speaker of your quotation was asking, "Why are you so annoyed, who got you so huffed up?" SS