In last Friday’s article (
Deckchair of Death) I used the word “Dander” which is interesting (I think, but then what is this site other than things that I find interesting?).
To get one’s dander up means to become angry. But the word dander doesn’t really mean angry unless the “get my/his/her/their/ones” and “up” are wrapped around it. The rest of the time dander describes scurf* shed from the skin. It has the same root as dandruff, which is a specific form of dander. Dander is more often used to describe the kind of animal skin dust that causes people to suffer from allergies.
So what on earth has this got to do with being angry? Although I don’t really have any allergies (except I am allergic to skin contact with Christmas trees – but it doesn’t come up much) I would imagine it would make you pretty angry – but that isn’t it.
So where does it come from? Well it seems most likely that saying somebody is getting their dander up is to suggest that they are becoming redundant. And although people do get mad when they get fired it isn’t that either. Basically redundant means to have too much of something and a certain time it was used to mean “to overflow” (as in the extra liquid is redundant it is overflowing). And it’s fair to say that a an angry person is one who is overflowing with emotions. So that seems to be it, although how the word mutated is still a mystery.
*Scurf? No? Really? Well that’s kind of scaly matter, skin cells or scales etc.