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

Put your back up

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What's the meaning of the phrase 'Put your back up'?

Make one angry.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Put your back up'?

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 Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1785:

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.

See other phrases first recorded by Captain Francis Grose.

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