raise cain

raise Cain

create trouble or a commotion – informal

The sense of raise in this expression is that of summoning a spirit, especially an evil one.

Similar sayings include raise the Devil and raise hell. A mid 19th-century expression originating in the USA, the particular form raise Cain is possibly a euphemism to avoid using the words Devil or hell. Cain, according to the biblical book of Genesis, was the first murderer.

the mark of Cain

the stigma of a murderer

a sign of infamy

According to the book of Genesis, God placed a mark on Cain after the murder of his brother Abel, originally as a sign that he I should not be killed or harmed. This was later taken to identify him as a murderer (Genesis 4 : 15).

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