rattle someone’s cage



  • verb to provoke, disturb, rouse. A phrase in mainly working-class usage which, like others (‘drop off the perch’, ‘sick as a parrot’, etc.), uses the imagery of a caged bird or animal. The expression usually forms part of a provocative rhetorical question ‘who rattled your cage?’, addressed to someone suddenly roused to anger or indignation. Yank (someone around/someone’s chain) is an American alternative.