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.
See also: fight, word

them's fighting words

cliché What was said warrants a fight or confrontation. "Fighting" is often rendered as "fightin'" for colloquial or ironic effect. A: "You're dad was a sissy!" B: "Them's fightin' words, pal—I'm gonna knock your block off!" But to suggest that our nation should bend to the will of another, well, them's fighting words around these parts.
See also: fight, word

fighting words

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).
See also: fight, word
References in periodicals archive ?
Thousands date from the First World War, when millions of men from all over Britain set off to fightin France and Belgium.
In The Fightin Irish of Detroit: Fightin in the Streets Fightin in the Courts (An American Story), Lauck also explores the Irish influence in the Detroit legal community.
Trailing the Fightin Irish 28-15 at halftime, the players asked Beebe and staff to step out of the locker room so they could discuss the state of affairs among themselves.
The UAAP eligibility board initially denied Ricafort the chance to play in Season 80 as the Fightin Maroon will exceed the age limit of 25-years-old in January of 2018, smack in the middle of the sporting calendar.
But since I got to do my own fightin, I try not to have no trouble" (Guthrie 1975, 64).
fightin "They are in a better position than us, but they keep on fighting and they need to do something to be safe, like we do.
The first story, "Water Is a Fightin Word," postulates a world in which a scarcity of fresh water has resulted in massive domestic and international migration.
Desmon Tut, a South Sudanese refugee in Kampala, told Sudan Tribune that Kiir's new mandate for another three years was likely to escalate fightin in parts of the country.
READING FIGHTIN PHILS -- Announced the resignation of assistant general manager Ashley Peterson.
al-Shabaab x 2006 Government and armed forces from Kenya fightin in Somalia Colombia 12.
The plan succeeded in ending fightin between rival groups in Tripoli.
HEAVY FIGHTIN NEAR TURKEY: Heavy fighting broke out on Monday between Islamic State Militants and Kurdish PYD militants close to the Turkish border just north of the besieged Syrian town of Kobane.
The twist in the tale stung but Nelson insists the performance proved there is plenty of fightin the Easter Road squad.
The 31-year-old thought he would be Golovkin's toughest test to date, but the man nicknamed GGG proved he is the real deal with a clinical performance to finish the fightin the third round.
Fightin isadangrus game and you dont want to scare your Mama.