he had his Indian up


he had his Indian up
(A calque from the Spanish se le subió el indio, meaning the same)
   He was angry or lost his temper. The DRAE confirms that subírsele a uno el indio is a figurative expression used in the Americas that means to lose one's temper. Among mestizos it could be interpreted as a racist expression because it implies that one allowed the allegedly uncivilized and uncontrollable Indian side to get the best of him.

Cowboy Talk. A Dictionary of Spanish Terms. . 2013.

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