To get the hump, humped

Posted by ESC on March 24, 2002

In Reply to: To Get the Hump - origin posted by James Briggs on March 24, 2002

: : I want to know the logic and/or the origin of to "get the hump" meaning: to be annoyed. (I thought this was the "ump" for many years because I didn't realise the "h" was being dropped.) Anyway, does anyone know? It makes no sense to me.

: : Camel

: Just a guess. People who are fed up are said to get the hump - I've never really thought of the expression as associated with aggressive annoyance, just about being upset with one's lot in life. Fed up people tend to slouch along, head down a bit. This produces a curved back - a bit like a camel's hump. Thus, I guess, the analogy.

My mother used the phrase "humped up" when someone -- OK, it was me -- was sulking.

GET (ONE'S) HUMP UP - "to become touchy or combative. 1860 Hotten 'Slang Dict.' (ed. 2): 'To have one's hump up,' to become cross or ill-tempered - like a cat with its back set up. 1870 in 'N.Y. Folk Qly. XXIX 170: 'The camel he got up his hump and swallowed the blue-tail fly, sir.'." HUMPED - "adj. .irritated, angry. 1878 B. Harte 'Drift' 60: 'Spose.that chap, feelin' kinder humped, goes up some dark night and heaves a load of cut pine over his fence.'" From the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 2, H-O by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994.