Under My Skin – Meaning & Origin

Photo of author

Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

The idiom under my skin means that something or someone is annoying or irritating you in a way that’s impossible to ignore. If it immediately makes you think of creepy crawlies, take a deep breath! Sit tight, and you’ll learn all about how this phrase came to be and how to use it without scratching your head.

What Is the Meaning of Under My Skin?

Under My Skin – Meaning Origin

Now, I can hear you saying, “Under my skin? Is that some kind of gruesome medical term?” No, it’s not. I mean, sure, it could be. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.

In the world of idioms, getting under someone’s skin is like a rock in your shoe—irritating, pesky, and really hard to ignore. It’s not about parasites or insects. It’s about that person who cuts you off in traffic, the kids who won’t stop screaming while you’re on the phone, or that pop song that won’t leave your brain.

Can Being Under Someone’s Skin Be a Good Thing?

Weird as it may sound, sometimes, the phrase can indeed have a positive spin. It depends on the context. It’s like when someone says, “You’ve really gotten under my skin,” they could mean that they can’t stop thinking about you. You’ve become unforgettable, like that catchy jingle from a breakfast cereal ad. But mostly, we use it to refer to those irritants that, well, irritate.

Origin and Etymology Behind Getting Under Your Skin

Under My Skin Ngram
Under my skin usage trend.

So how did we start using this phrase to describe pesky annoyances? The whole idea comes from the literal sense of having an itch under your skin—something irritating that you can’t quite get rid of. It’s pretty obvious how it morphed into the common idiom we use today.

Get Under One’s Skin Synonyms

Need a few ways to mix it up? Try these synonyms for size:

  • Irritate
  • Annoy
  • Push one’s buttons
  • Bother
  • Rile up
  • Get on one’s nerves
  • Grate on

How to Use Get Under Your Skin in a Sentence

Under My Skin – Meaning Origin 1

  • My neighbor’s loud rap music at three in the morning really gets under my skin.
  • I can’t help it; your constant humming in the office is getting under my skin.
  • Margot’s sarcastic comments have started to get under my skin.
  • The way he smacks his food around his mouth gets under my skin like you wouldn’t believe.
  • Listen, I know it’s hard to ignore but don’t let his rude remarks get under your skin.
  • Your dismissive attitude really got under my skin during the meeting, Frank.
  • Nothing gets under my skin like someone cutting in line.
  • He tries to get under my skin with his teasing, but I won’t let him.
  • Sometimes, the best thing to do is not to let it get under your skin.
  • The way he dismissed my ideas at the meeting really got under my skin.

Another Idiom in the Bag

Idioms like under my skin make English such a colorful language, don’t they? If something or someone starts irritating the heck out of you, this is the perfect phrase to describe it. But I’ve got so many fun idioms like this you can use every day, so check them out!

Want to have more idioms in your arsenal? Check out some others we covered: