fighting words


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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

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 ?
As Wattenberg's personal memoir, Fighting Words contains some amusing anecdotes and interesting stories.
Fighting words which didn't manage to survive the opening game, a defeat at Redruth.
So, I put together Fighting Words literally as a toolkit, very small and tight, something affordable you could stick in your pocket, or your backpack, or your purse so that when others misread or misquote the framers, you would have a "oh-no-they-did-not" resource.
Fighting Words is for those who haven't read the founding documents of this nation since grade school or who otherwise could use refreshing in our history.
Many institutions have only regulated things that are judicially approved, such as fighting words.
Fighting Words is based on the story of Merthyr Tydfil boxer Johnny 'Matchstick Man' Owen who fought for the bantam- weight world title in Los Angeles in 1980 but was punched into a coma from which he died 46 days later.
I am also happy to be living here where "pake" and "haole" are friendly words, not fighting words, and I'd hate to have to change back.
Your selection of our story for national publication ["Hard Work, Part I" and "Hard Work, Part II," Fighting Words, August and October 2005] was such an honor for my men and for their accomplishments, and I am so very pleased that you chose to print our story.
To speak colloquially, them's fighting words," not dialoguing words.
195) These are fighting words and there are sure to be those who don't want to hear them.
To hear my former PE teacher Willie Wight's fighting words inspire the lads from a 2-0 half-time deficit to a 3-2 win with the last kick was magic.
Both Fighting Words and Civilizing the Margins emphasize that ethnic discord is at least in part a result of governmental decisions, and Brown and Ganguly especially drive home this point.
The trial court ruled that 1) the defendant's statements constituted fighting words and were not protected speech, and that 2) section 53a-181 of the Connecticut General Statutes is neither unconstitutionally vague nor overbroad.