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red rag

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noun
  1. something that arouses anger; a provocation; red flag: A mere mention of the incident is a red rag to him.

Origin of red rag

First recorded in 1690–1700
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for red rag

red rag

noun
  1. a provocation; something that infuriates

Word Origin

so called because red objects supposedly infuriate bulls
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012