a knock-down, drag-out fight

a knock-down, drag-out fight

A fight, argument, or conflict that is lengthy, intense, and contentious. The phrase usually refers to non-physical quarrels, or athletic contests, but not actual violence. This meeting is shaping up to be a knock-down, drag-out fight between the two rival executives, who have each been trying to recruit allies. We knew from the beginning that this was going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight, and it hasn't disappointed, with both sides relentlessly trying to gain an advantage.
See also: fight

a knock-down, drag-out fight

AMERICAN
A knock-down, drag-out fight is a very serious, emotional and often violent fight or argument. This year, nobody wanted another knock-down, drag-out fight over the state budget. You shouldn't engage in knock-down drag-out fights in front of your children. Note: This expression refers to a type of boxing match in which a fighter who had been knocked down was dragged out of the ring and replaced by another contestant.
See also: fight
References in periodicals archive ?
Harrisburg and Nashville girls squared off for the third time in as many years in a heavyweight fight that much like the other two battles were a knock-down, drag-out fight.
The couple went out on the roof terrace and had a knock-down, drag-out fight."
The key to this achievement is Clinton's budget plan, which passed through Congress in 1993 only after a knock-down, drag-out fight led by the President--a fight won with only the votes of a fractious Democratic party, and against a vehement and united Republican front.