bone of contention

(redirected from bone of dissension)

a bone of contention

An unresolved problem, dispute, or disagreement. Jerry leaving his dirty dishes in the sink for days became a bone of contention between him and his roommate.
See also: bone, contention, of
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

bone of contention

Fig. the subject or point of an argument; an unsettled point of disagreement. We've fought for so long that we've forgotten what the bone of contention is. The question of a fence between the houses has become quite a bone of contention.
See also: bone, contention, of
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

bone of contention

Main issue of a disagreement; something to quarrel about. For example, Grandfather's will was a bone of contention for the whole family. This expression alludes to two dogs fighting (contending) over a single bone. In slightly different guise, bone of dissension, it was used figuratively in the 16th century and took its present form in the early 1700s.
See also: bone, contention, of
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

bone of contention

The subject of a dispute.
See also: bone, contention, of
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

bone of contention, the

The central point of a dispute. The phrase alludes to two dogs fighting over a single bone, and originally was a bone of dissension (“This became a bone of dissension between these deere friends,” William Lambarde, 1576). The current cliché dates from the early eighteenth century, although the metaphor of dogs fighting over a bone had been transferred to human quarrels long before (“The devil hath cast a bone to set stryfe between you,” John Heywood’s Proverbs, 1562).
See also: bone, of
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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