In more than one language I know, when someone keeps nagging about a subject that you do not want to hear about but you have to because that person is your boss or your wife and their talking goes on and on until they cause damage to your brain, one says something that literally translates to they fucked my brain.

I know hit my nerve but that doesn't convey to what extent the damage is done to the brain, do you have anything much stronger?

another reference

  • 'motor mouth, ear basher, GBH of the ear, talk the leg off a table' are some expressions I have come across.
    – Kim Ryan
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 2:51
  • 1
    "You're breaking my balls"
    – Mitch
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 13:03
  • "Quit busting my chops", "You're a real ball buster"
    – Mitch
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 15:20

6 Answers 6


I think the closest fit, albeit not as vulgar, is:

They chewed my ear off.

  • Welcome to EL&U Stack Exchange. If you added a source (ideally etymological/literary) for this phrase it would make your answer even better.
    – Sam
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 16:02
  • Would it make sense to you if we say "Chewed my brain off" ?
    – Nabil Sham
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 21:11
  • @Sam: There is an entry for "chew someone's ear off" on dictionary.reference.com. It, in turn, cites The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition, by Kipfer and Chapman.
    – soundray
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 10:02
  • @Mike: not sure whether this would be widely understood, unless you provided some context.
    – soundray
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 10:04

A harpy according to Dictionary.com is

  1. a ravenous, filthy monster having a woman's head and a bird's body.
  2. (lowercase) a scolding, nagging, bad-tempered woman; shrew.

So for example, you could say, 'I wish my wife would quit harping on me to take the trash out.'


Carping is a possibility, although it doesn't have the nuance of "brain damage via nagging".

From m-w.com: "Marked by or inclined to querulous and often perverse criticism."


To do someone's head in (British informal)

Defined under head, phrases (defn. 10) as:

make someone feel annoyed, confused or frustrated

'My relationship with my publicist was doing my head in.'

Source: ODO


Here are some ideas:

  • They got on my nerves. (You're right, this is not very strong.)

  • They drove me up the wall, drove me nuts, drove me up the wall, drove me crazy, drove me mad, drove me berserk.

  • He kept at me until I was ready to wring his neck.

  • They made my life a living hell. (My favorite)


My brains are dribbling out my ears is sometimes used when too much information is producing boredom and lack of focus. It's somewhat more general in meaning as it applies to any source of information, not just being spoken to, but it does have the advantage of implying brain damage like your non-English examples.

A Google search turns up quite a few examples of its use, primarily in pop culture like SF novels and an episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

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