usage of the idiom "put one's wind up"


I came across this sentence:

  1. …if you put their wind up somehow, I’ll scrag you both

Now, I know of this idiom: to put the wind up somebody as in:
2. The fact that he had lost all his money put the wind up him

Are you familiar with the idiom used in the first sentence? Does it mean the same as “to put the wind up somebody” ?

Thanks !

Hi Alex

I have no idea what your sentence means. :?

“Put their wind up” and “to scrag someone” might be expressions that are primarily used in the UK.

In the UK, “to put the wind up someone” means “to make someone extremely apprehensive about your intended course of action”.

Thus Xerxes allowed the captured spies to view his army and return home, in the expectation that their reports would “put the wind up” the Greeks.

(“Put their wind up” seems like a slightly unidiomatic variant.)

“To scrag someone” on the other hand is schoolboy slang; it can mean to grab someone unexpectedly, and rough them up a bit, often in a good-humoured way; or simply “to take someone prisoner”.


I’ll scrag ya - I’ll put you in a headlock. Good humour can often turn foul (particularly at school) 8)

Hi, Amy, Mr. Pedantic and Ralf

Thank you for your input.

I’m quite surprised that you did not know the idiom and the word, and that they turned out to be British slang. I took them from one of Stephen King’s novels. Maybe he decided to step out of line and use some of the British slang.

PS: My dictionary (lingvo) defines the word “to scrag” to mean “to kill” and adds that it is American slang :shock: What a gusher of bull*it ! This lingvo should never be trusted !

“Headlock” – that’s the word.


I don’t understand “scrag”, and my American dictionary says it’s “chiefly British”.

“To put the wind up someone” can be considered a British slang expression, as Amy said, and it shouldn’t be used for international communication, because most of the world’s native English speakers won’t understand it.

Stephen King may have used the expression himself, or it could have been inserted by a British editor to replace some other expression he’d originally used. You should know that some books by very popular authors are localized to the country where they are being sold. For example, the language in the Harry Potter books is adapted for the American editions.