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In Australia I hear this phrase all the time, like.

You are doing my headache.
It does my headache.
You do my headache, mate.
He does my headache.

My previous knowledge of the word tells me the sentences should be:

You are giving me headache.
It gives me headache.
You give me headache, mate.
He gives me headache.
I have got headache.
My head is aching.
This job is a headache.

I don't know why, but when someone says something does his headache, it sounds awkward to me. Someone can give somebody headache, but how can you do headache. Headache to me is a state of mind, it is not an action like "he does my car cleaning" or "he does my job".

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  • Are you sure they are not saying "does my head in?" Jul 14, 2019 at 10:46

1 Answer 1

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The examples are not idiomatic, and I think you are mishearing.

There is an idiomatic expression "You are doing my head in". It is very informal but it means "make someone unhappy or confused". Cambridge dictionaries give some examples:

Getting up at 4am every day is doing my head in.

I add:

You're doing my head in, mate, by never being on time.

This doesn't mean the person has a headache, although there is some overlap in meaning.

The accounts are a real headache this year.

The accounts are doing my head in this year.

The meaning of these two metaphorical expressions are similar, the accounts are difficult and are causing me to be unhappy.

This expression seems to be an extension of the already very casual phrasal verb "do something in" meaning "beat up or kill", with the idea that if something is "doing my head in" it is (metaphorically) beating up my brain, and so making me confused or unhappy.

Note that "headache" is a noun, not a verb, even in an unidiomatic expression like "doing my headache". Simlarly "car cleaning" and "my job" are nouns or noun-phrases, not verbs.

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  • Would you be able to elaborate on the structure of the sentence doing my head in. Does it mean to put the head inside a difficult situation or thought?
    – user31782
    Jul 15, 2019 at 13:15
  • "do someone in" means "kill or beat up" I think it extends that meaning. (its very very casual)
    – James K
    Jul 15, 2019 at 16:36

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