What does the idiom "get a bit hot under the collar" mean?

You are wondering about the meaning of the phrase get a bit hot under the collar, maybe you heard it in a TV show, movie or theater play. Although this idiom is not used very often, it enriches your capacity of expression and strengthens communication. In which case is the expression get a bit hot under the collar used and what is its meaning?

Meaning of "get a bit hot under the collar"

Meaning

The idiom “get a bit hot under the collar” is a phrase used to describe a person’s feeling of frustration, anger, or annoyance. This phrase is typically used to describe when an individual is feeling intense emotions due to an uncomfortable or controversial situation. The phrase may also be used to refer to someone who is feeling embarrassed or flustered.

Etymology

The phrase “get a bit hot under the collar” dates back to the 1800s when Charles Dickens used the phrase in his novel “Little Dorrit”: “Rich people who snubbed him made our friend Mr. Meagles a trifle hot under the collar.” The phrase is thought to have originated from the idea of a man’s stiff buttoned collar beginning to feel uncomfortable when someone is feeling angry or embarrassed. The phrase was further popularized in the early 1900s when it began being used more frequently in literature, films, and newspapers. The phrase is still commonly used today, often to describe someone who is feeling angry or frustrated.

Usage

The phrase “get a bit hot under the collar” is typically used to describe when an individual is feeling uncomfortable or frustrated due to a tense situation. This phrase can be used to describe both literal and figurative contexts. For example, someone may literally be feeling hot under the collar if they are wearing a tight fitting shirt collar, or they may be figuratively feeling hot under the collar if they are feeling annoyed or frustrated. The phrase may also be used to describe when someone is feeling embarrassed or flustered due to an awkward or embarrassing situation.

Example Sentences

  • John got a bit hot under the collar when his boss asked him to work overtime.
  • The jury got a bit hot under the collar when the attorney asked them to review the evidence again.
  • He was so embarrassed that he got a bit hot under the collar when the room went silent.

The meanings of the words in the "get a bit hot under the collar" idiom

The Surprising Origins of Everyday English Idioms

Many English idioms have surprisingly dark origins, often rooted in violence, death, and superstition. For instance, the phrase "raining cats and dogs" is said to have originated in the 17th century, when heavy rain would often cause dead animals to wash up on the streets. Meanwhile, the idiom "rule of thumb" is believed to have originated from a law that allowed men to beat their wives with a stick no thicker than their thumb.

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