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To speak harshly or maliciously, so as to hurt the listener. I can't stand to be around my mother these days—she's always speaking daggers because she's so miserable. I will speak daggers to my enemy when I see him at the debate.
be at daggers drawn
To be prepared to verbally or physically fight another person or group. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. The police have had to intervene because those rival gangs have been at daggers drawn lately. The members of the committee are at daggers drawn because they cannot agree on a course of action.
involving secrecy and plotting. A great deal of cloak-and-dagger stuff goes on in political circles. A lot of cloak-and-dagger activity was involved in the appointment of the director.
look daggers at someone
Fig. to give someone a dirty look. Tom must have been mad at Ann from the way he was looking daggers at her. Don't you dare look daggers at me! Don't even look cross-eyed at me!
shoot daggers at somebodyalso look daggers at somebody
to look very angrily at someone I put a cigarette in my mouth and saw her shooting daggers at me from all the way across the room.
cloak-and-dagger behaviour is when people behave in a very secret way, often when it is not really necessary
Usage notes: A cloak is a type of long, loose coat and a dagger is a small sharp knife used as a weapon. In 17th century Spanish theatre, cloak-and-dagger was worn by a dishonest character in the play.(always before noun) Is all this cloak-and-dagger stuff necessary? Why can't we just meet in a café like everyone else?
be at daggers drawn(British & Australian)
if two people or groups are at daggers drawn, they are angry and ready to fight or argue with each otherSee look daggers at
Usage notes: A dagger is a sharp pointed knife that was used in the past as a weapon.(often + with ) Local residents are at daggers drawn with the council over rubbish collection. (often + over ) The two countries have several times been at daggers drawn over the future of the island.
look daggers at somebody
to look very angrily at someone I suddenly noticed David looking daggers at me and thought I'd better shut up.
daggers drawn, at
Also, with daggers drawn. About to or ready to fight, as in Are Felix and Oscar still at daggers drawn over the rent? Although daggers today are rarely if ever used to avenge an insult or issue a challenge to a duel, this idiom remains current. Its figurative use dates from about 1800.
See also: dagger
Glare, stare fiercely, as in When she started to discuss their finances, he looked daggers at her. This metaphoric term, likening an angry expression to a dagger's thrust, dates from ancient times and has appeared in English since about 1600.
bulldikerand bull-dagger and bulldyker
n. a lesbian, especially if aggressive or masculine. (Rude and derogatory.) Some old bulldiker strutted in and ordered a beer and a chaser. She was described by her friends as a “bull-dagger,” and I can’t imagine what her enemies called her.
look daggers at
To glare at angrily or hatefully.