fighting words(redirected from them's 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.
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).