handbag

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handbags at dawn

A confrontation or disagreement that is highly aggressive, emotionally expressive, or dramatic, but which does not end or result in violence. Used originally and primarily in reference to football (soccer) players, who would be sent off if they engaged in violent actions, the phrase is a play on the clichéd "pistols at dawn," indicating a forthcoming pistol duel. Primarily heard in UK. It was handbags at dawn between the two players, who had been verbally taunting one another throughout the match.
See also: dawn, handbag

handbags at six paces

Describing a minor disagreement or altercation. Used especially in reference to football (soccer) players, the phrase is less intense version of the more common phrase "handbags at ten paces." Primarily heard in UK. And with that controversial call, it's now handbags at six paces on the field! Everyone thought Tony and the boss would come to blows, but it ended up being little more than handbags at six paces.
See also: handbag, pace, six

handbags at ten paces

A confrontation or disagreement that is highly aggressive, emotionally expressive, or dramatic, but which does not end or result in violence. Used originally and primarily in reference to football (soccer) players, who would be sent off if they engaged in violent actions, the phrase is a play on the clichéd "pistols at ten paces," indicating a forthcoming pistol duel. Primarily heard in UK. It was handbags at ten paces between the two players, who had been verbally taunting one another throughout the match.
See also: handbag, pace, ten

the handbags come out

Said when a skirmish breaks out that is very dramatic or emotionally charged, but in which little or no violence actually occurs. The phrase derives from the phrase "handbags at dawn," itself a pun on the clichéd "pistols at dawn," indicating a forthcoming pistol duel but instead alluding to women striking each other with their handbags. Primarily heard in Australia. The handbags have come out now, as both groups of players argue over the legitimacy of the referee's call. The handbags came out during the meeting, when Tony and the boss got into a spat over the direction of the project. I used to love coming on these forums for a bit of banter, but now it seems like the handbags come out whenever someone says anything the least bit risqué.
See also: come, handbag, out
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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