Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.
lock horns (with someone)
Fig. to get into an argument with someone. Let's settle this peacefully. I don't want to lock horns with the boss. The boss doesn't want to lock horns either.
Become embroiled in conflict, as in At the town meeting Kate and Steve locked horns over increasing the property tax. This expression alludes to how stags and bulls use their horns to fight one another. [First half of 1800s]
If you lock horns with someone, you argue or fight with them. He has often locked horns with lawmakers as well as the administration. In Manhattan's densely built real estate market, developers and preservationists often lock horns. Note: The reference here is to two male animals, such as deer, fighting over a female and getting their horns caught together or `locked'.
lock hornsengage in conflict.
The image here is of two bulls fighting head-to-head with their horns. Both the literal and figurative senses of the phrase originated in the USA, in the mid 19th century.
ˌlock ˈhorns (with somebody) (over something)argue or fight with somebody: The lawyers did not want to lock horns with the judge.This idiom refers to the way that animals such as bulls, stags (= male deer), etc. fight with their horns or antlers.
To become embroiled in conflict.
To get into an argument. Two deer, moose, or members of another antlered species who have a dispute they want to settle will face off, paw the ground, and charge at each other. Their antlers clash and often become enmeshed. They have locked horns. People who have a bone to pick can be said to lock horns too. The phrase appears in an 1865 poem by Algernon Swinburne to describe the domestic disagreement of a heifer and her mate locking horns.