have words with


Also found in: Legal.

have words (with someone)

To argue, quarrel, or speak angrily (with someone). John's having words with Danny over the phone bills he's been racking up. I'll have to have words with him if his behavior doesn't improve. It sounds like Tom and Mary are having words again.
See also: have, word

have words with someone (over someone or something)

Fig. to quarrel with someone over someone or something. I had words with John over Mary and her friends. Elaine had words with Tony over his driving habits.
See also: have, word

have words with

Quarrel with, scold, as in If Pete keeps on pushing Billy I'm going to have words with him. This phrase dates from the late 1700s, although the use of words for an altercation is much older. Also see have a word with.
See also: have, word