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jerk someone's chain

Slang definitions & phrases for jerk someone's chain

jerk someone's chain

verb phrase

To victimize or dupe; harass; JERK someone AROUND: You came out to jerk my chain tonight/ the perception white voters got that Jackson was jerking their chains/ Are you guys yanking my chain?

[1980s+; fr the notion of a chained man, monkey, etc, being harassed]

pull someone's chain

verb phrase

  1. To deceive; fool, victimize; pull a fast one: too busy trying to figure out if I had been pulling his chain
  2. To upset someone, esp by teasing or harassing; anger someone: I did not know you can rattle his chain with marvelous results/ He was insecure and sensitive. It was easy to pull his string

[1980s+; probably fr the image of a person who upsets a captive animal by pulling or jerking at its chain]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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