declare war on (someone or something)(redirected from declare war on somebody)
declare war on (someone or something)
1. To officially announce the intention to fight against an enemy country or group in a war. We will have to declare war on the rebels if they advance over our border.
2. To announce the intention to vehemently oppose someone or something. This usage does not refer to physical fighting. The mayor has declared war on crime in our city and is bolstering our police force.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
declare war on
Also, declare war against. Announce one's intent to suppress or eradicate something or someone. For example, The police have declared war on drug dealing in the neighborhood, or Several gangs have declared war against each other. This usage transfers the literal sense of the term, "to state formally one's intention to carry on hostilities against another power," to a somewhat smaller scale.
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.