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pull someone's chain

Slang definitions & phrases for pull someone's chain

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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Idioms and Phrases with pull someone's chain

pull someone's chain

Make someone speak out of turn, as in Who pulled your chain?—It's none of your business. [ 1920s ]
Make someone angry, especially deliberately, as in Teenagers really know how to pull their parents' chains. [ c. 1960 ]
Both usages allude to the literal sense of chain-pulling, that is, “causing someone to do something, as though activated by a chain.”
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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