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touch (or hit or strike) a nerve (or a raw nerve)

Definition of touch or hit or strike a nerve or a raw nerve in English:

Provoke a reaction by referring to a sensitive topic: there are signs that some comments strike a raw nerve
More example sentences
  • You've touched a nerve with this topic and it smarts.
  • When discussions about ‘vision’ spiral out from the rarefied policy circles of Washington into the editorial pages of mainstream newspapers, you know that topic has hit a nerve.
  • Boutin's comments touched a nerve that was already close to the surface, and my observations are directed towards a greater cultural issue.
See parent entry: nerve
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