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The meaning and origin of the expression: Put your back up

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Put your back up

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Meaning

Make one angry.

Origin

This term derives from the habit of cats of arching their backs when threatened or annoyed. It is a British colloquial phrase and came into being in the 18th century. An early example of its use is from Grose's A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1788:

BACK UP. His back is up, i. e. he is offended or angry: an expreffion or idea taken from a cat; that animal, when angry, always raifing its back. An allufion alfo fometimes ufed to jeer a crooked man; as, So, Sir, I fee fomebody has offended you, for your back is up.