I am sure there is an English expression or idiom saying that a person puts his anger on an innocent person who didn't cause it. But, I can not remember it.

Say, a husband had an argument with his wife. He was so angry that he screamed at his children even though his children didn't have anything to do with his anger.

In Vietnamese, we say "hate the fish, chop the cutting board" literally translated. It means you hate the fish but you can not express your anger at the fish so you chop the cutting board to vent your anger.

What is the common English expression or idioms saying a person puts his anger on an innocent person who didn't cause it?

  • 2
    The children in your example probably just have to (unjustly) suffer in silence, but if a more mature / self-confident person finds themselves being unjustly attacked with this kind of "redirected anger", the idiomatic standard is Don't take it out on me! Jan 14, 2023 at 17:39
  • 2
    In English we will often say "get angry with" instead of "put (their) anger on" someone
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 14, 2023 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


The most common expression would be to say "he took his anger out on the children".

People who have difficulty controlling their anger may do this unknowingly, but if someone deliberately takes their anger out on people who are not the cause there are other psychology terms such as 'projecting blame' or 'blame-shifting'.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .