rattle saber

rattle (one's) saber

To make aggressive, blustering, and typically empty threats. I'd like to think that his threats of nuclear extermination are just him rattling his saber, but I'm not too sure anymore. The boss just likes to rattle her saber every now and then to make herself feel powerful.
See also: rattle, saber

rattle one's saber

 and rattle its saber
Fig. to make threatening statements or actions. The president is just rattling his saber. He would never attack such a small country!
See also: rattle, saber
References in periodicals archive ?
It is not the first time that the Israeli military has used information technology to rattle sabers on Hezbollah's alleged military preparations in south Lebanon.
Parliamentary backbenchers, retired military officers and newspaper commentators often rattle sabers against Iran.
ElBaradei, 66, cut a high political profile in the post by urging big powers to engage rather than isolate or, in the case of hawks in the former Bush administration, rattle sabers with Iran.
While some of the CFR's leading experts continue to rattle sabers and appear to be beating war drums, the dominant strain in the council's media chorus is sounding the siren song of "new thinking" concerning our relationship with Tehran.
can rattle sabers well enough, but stop at the brink when appropriate--machismo doesn't have to rule.
Although Sir John is necessarily aware of the heated historiographical debates that aspects of his subject have aroused in recent decades, he seems reluctant to rattle sabers himself, and his judicious conclusions often take the form of passing asides.