rub the wrong way

rub the wrong way


  • to tick someone off
  • to be rude to someone and cause a tiff or a fight
  • to be impolite or irritate someone
  • to cause a diversion

Example Sentences

  1. The guy has rubbed me in such a wrong way that I do not even want to look at him ever again.
  2. I don’t think rubbing the director of the company in a wrong way was a good move for your career.
  3. I would always rub the teacher in the wrong way and end up in trouble.
  4. My sister has rubbed the police officer in the wrong way and now I have to go help her out.
  5. You should not rub me the wrong way if you really want this promotion.
  6. He is such a nice guy he would not rub anyone the wrong way.
  7. You have rubbed me the wrong way so often that I dislike even seeing your face now.


The phrase is American in origin. The British version is “rub someone up”. The phrase originated from cats, who like to be petted from the head to tail and get annoyed with someone doing it in the wrong direction. The cat reference originated in 1819 in “Aunt Mary’s Tales”. There is another reference to about a plant in “A General System of Nature” published in 1806.

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