Hot Under the Collar

Meaning of Idiom ‘Hot Under the Collar’

To be hot under the collar means to be angry, resentful, agitated, or embarassed. 1Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms]. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.,2McCarthy, Michael. Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms. Cambridge University Press, 2002.,3Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

Examples of Use

“When we confronted him with the accusation, he got pretty hot under the collar, but he didn’t really offer any defense.”

“It’s just a simple disagreement. You don’t have to get so hot under the collar.”

“Members of the House of Representatives today were obviously quite hot under the collar about the racist comments made by one of their own.”

Origin

Used since around 1900.

The word collar in this idiom refers to the part of a piece of clothing that goes around the neck so that the idiom alludes to one’s neck feeling hot with anger or embarrassment, or generally to the heat of anger.

The following example is from a cartoon in the Sunday edition Evening Star, June 09, 1907:

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms]. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
2. McCarthy, Michael. Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms. Cambridge University Press, 2002.
3. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.