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. Robert N. Smead. 2013.
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