English Idiom – (Be) Like a bear with a sore head.

Meaning – To be extremely angry, annoyed, or irritable. The idiom like a bear with a sore head is used to describe someone who is in a very bad mood and is very irritable. It implies that the person is grumpy and easily angered.

The idiom down in the mouth can be used to refer to someone who is just feeling sad.

If somebody is feeling like a bear with a sore head they might blow up (phrasal verb) or storm out (phrasal verb).


When could you use this idiom?

  • Your parents are grumpy because your sister kept them awake all night.
  • A friend is suffering from a particular unpleasant hangover.
  • You are warning your classmates to avoid a grumpy teacher!


  • “She’s always like a bear with a sore head in the morning. Only a nice cuppa can cheer her up!”

In The News:

Bear with a sore head! Mumford & Sons’ Ted Dwane posts picture following brain surgery


  • Is there an idiom like this in your country?

What is an idiom?

An idiom is a word or phrase that is not taken literally.  An idiom is an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its individual words, but has a separate meaning of its own.

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