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May 20, 2011

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john

I can't recall hearing the "carpet" expression in actual use here in the US, even in the 50's, although there are probably many I haven't heard. I wonder if it's a regional thing?

The most commom similar expressions today, at least in the US Northeast, seem to be various forms of "mad enough to eat/chew glass", or "mad enough to chew nails".

Jemmy Hope

There were stories (apocryphal) that Hitler, when he lost his temper, would roll about on the floor and bite the edges of the carpet. Maybe that's the source.
There is an expression over here, "spitting nails", meaning angry.

Virtual Linguist

Thanks, both, for those interesting comments.

John Parra

As a sidebar, in the theatre, we use the expression "chewing the scenery" when another actor is "overacting" or histrionic. I feel that a bit of that expression may apply here.

Virtual Linguist

Thanks, John. Yes, that's probably so.

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