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Being “On Your Ear” Can Mean to Be Upset

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Susan from Asheville, North Carolina, is surprised that fellow members of her writers’ group didn’t understand her use of the phrase I was on my ear meaning “I was upset.” This expression and variants of it have been around since at least the 1860s. To spin around on your ear means “to get violently angry,” to go off on your ear or to slide out on your ear means to depart angrily. Or telling someone Walk off on your ear is the equivalent of telling them to go to hell. Future U.S. president Harry Truman described his own father as being on his ear when Truman failed to show up somewhere on time. This is part of a complete episode.

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