fighting words

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Related to fighting word: them's fighting words

fighting words

Speech meant to provoke a fight or confrontation with someone. The senatorial candidate issued strong fighting words to her opponent today, challenging her to an open debate on the matter of tax increases.
See also: fight, word

fighting words

A statement bound to start a quarrel or fight. It is often expressed as them's fighting words, as in You say your father's smarter than mine? Them's fighting words. The ungrammatical use of them's for "those are" emphasizes the folksy tone of this colloquialism, first recorded in Ring Lardner's Gullible's Travels (1917).
See also: fight, word
References in periodicals archive ?
This ruling led John Hart Ely to say that fighting words now require an explicit "invitation to a brawl.
Consequently, even if slurs might be interpreted as fighting words, they are more than likely to receive First Amendment protection by the courts, thus preventing any punishment of those who utter slurs in public.
Founded in 2009 by The Barrytown Trilogy author and Sean Love, Fighting Words aims to provide primary and secondary level students with the chance to explore their imagination through creative writing.
A speech-based criminal-harassment conviction passes First Amendment muster if it is based on fighting words that target the victim, are capable of inciting an immediate fight, and seriously alarm the victim,'' Gail Johnson's lawyer, Valerie DePalma, wrote in a legal brief.
Fighting Words are aimed at concepts, not people, as we will do in this section of International
For a company thathas been marketing itselfas being more open to working with competitors and non-VMware environments, those seem like some fighting words.
In the Racing Post Chase The Fellow finished third before going on to Gold Cup glory, fourth Elfast took the Mildmay of Flete and sixth Fighting Words the Kim Muir.
With fighting words, these fifteen legislators, known as TDs, say that they will refuse to vote for any law that liberalises abortion even if the party whips command them to do so.
David said that Times Square doesn't have enough gimmicks and then threw down some fighting words.
Cocaine Market Via Link to Mexican Cartel [ProPublica] Beirut Bank Seen as a Hub of Hezbollah's Financing [NYT] Hezbollah's Hypocritical Resistance [NYT] Nasrallah's Fighting Words [NYT Latitudes] A New Home for Hamas?
What I wanted to say seemed like fighting words, and I held it back until I got the Sept/Oct issue of American Handgunner.
Do their fighting words actually inspire fans to put down their remotes and become politically active?
Perhaps sensing the increased scrutiny of his candidacy over everything from his jobs record to his views on evolution, Perry ended his remarks with fighting words for the "liberal pundits," advising his supporters about how they should reply when the media downplays the Texas way: "I want you to say, 'That dog won't hunt
He acknowledged that Lebanese hummus "is very good" but boasted that "Abu Gosh is the hummus capital of the world" -- fighting words to rival fans.