Raising the hackles of / Getting one's hackles up
Posted by TheFallen on September 17, 2002
In Reply to: "Raising the hackles of" posted by guy andrews on September 17, 2002
: Anyone got the origin of the term "raisng the hackles of...." thanks guy
NOUN: 1. Any of the long, slender, often glossy feathers on the neck of a bird, especially a male domestic fowl. 2. hackles The erectile hairs along the back of the neck of an animal, especially of a dog. 3a. A tuft of cock feathers trimming an artificial fishing fly. b. A hackle fly.
Many animals, particularly including dogs and wolves, instinctively raise their hackles when annoyed, threatened or scared. It's presumably primarily done to make the animal look larger and more menacing itself, plus may I suppose provide some slight greater degree of protection to the neck area. Hence if something raises your hackles or gets your hackles up, it makes you feel aggressively irritated or fearful.