up in arms

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in arms

1. Bearing weapons for a fight, as a soldier or military person. With only 40 men in arms, our tiny battalion had little hope of withstanding the siege.
2. In a state of agitated hostility, especially leading to or preparing for conflict. Everyone in the company was in arms after we found out our pensions had been dissolved by the board of directors.
See also: arm

up in arms

Very upset or angry about something, likened to an armed rebellion, from which the phrase originated. The whole town is up in arms about the addition of a new shopping center. Mom was really up in arms after I dented her brand-new car.
See also: arm, up

*up in arms

 
1. Fig. in armed rebellion. (*Typically: be ~; get ~.) The entire population is up in arms. They are up in arms, ready to fight.
2. Fig. very angry. (Fig. on {2}, but without weapons. *Typically: be ~; get ~.) Wally was up in arms about the bill for the broken window. I am really up in arms about what happened.
See also: arm, up

up in arms

Angry, rebellious, as in The town was up in arms over the state's plan to allow commercial flights at the air base . This idiom originally referred to an armed rebellion and was so used from the late 1500s. Its figurative use dates from about 1700.
See also: arm, up

up in arms

COMMON If someone is up in arms about something, they are very angry about it and are protesting strongly. More than one million shopkeepers are up in arms against the new minimum tax. This is a very delicate situation. Frank feels he has been publicly humiliated, and his sponsors are up in arms. Politicians from both sides of the House were up in arms at her strongest ever criticism of EU attempts to unite Europe. Note: `Arms' in this expression means weapons.
See also: arm, up

up in arms

mod. angry; excited. The whole town was up in arms about the planned highway.
See also: arm, up

up in arms

Extremely upset; indignant.
See also: arm, up