Get under one’s skin

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Get under one’s skin is a popular idiom. We will examine the meaning of the idiom get under one’s skin, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

When something is said to get under one’s skin, it means to be annoyed or irritated, to be bothered by someone or something, to become provoked or to become obsessed with something. The image is of an insect, splinter, or other irritant lodged under one’s skin that one may have difficulty removing. Less often, if someone is said to get under one’s skin, it may mean that one has become romantically interested in that person. The expression get under one’s skin came into use in the late 1800s, but its popularity exploded in the latter half of the twentieth century. Related phrases are gets under one’s skin, got under one’s skin, getting under one’s skin.


You know, seldom does something get under my skin, but this time they are hurting a friend of mine, and I just have to tell you the TRUTH about what they say. (The Coastal Breeze News)

The voices do hold a certain amount of power over me – they are after all caused by my brain – so they have insight into all my insecurities and how I’m feeling at any given moment, and they know how to get under my skin. (The Manchester Evening News)

Another incident that got under my skin was when a student said I looked like rapper Wiz Khalifa, then proceeded to touch my dreadlocks. (Science Magazine)

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