a knock-down, drag-out fight

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a knock-down, drag-out fight

A fight, argument, or conflict that is lengthy, intense, and contentious. The phrase usually refers to non-physical quarrels, or athletic contests, but not actual violence. This meeting is shaping up to be a knock-down, drag-out fight between the two rival executives, who have each been trying to recruit allies. We knew from the beginning that this was going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight, and it hasn't disappointed, with both sides relentlessly trying to gain an advantage. A: "They still haven't reached a divorce settlement?" B: "Nope. The negotiations have been a knock-down, drag-out fight."
See also: fight
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

knock-down, drag-out fight

a serious fight; a serious argument. Boy, they really had a knock-down, drag-out fight. Stop calling each other names, or you're going to end up with a real knock-down, drag-out fight.
See also: fight
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

a knock-down, drag-out fight

A knock-down, drag-out fight is a very serious, emotional and often violent fight or argument. This year, nobody wanted another knock-down, drag-out fight over the state budget. You shouldn't engage in knock-down drag-out fights in front of your children. Note: This expression refers to a type of boxing match in which a fighter who had been knocked down was dragged out of the ring and replaced by another contestant.
See also: fight
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

knock-down drag-out fight, a

A violent altercation; a free-for-all, literal or figurative. This term, which has a modern ring to it, actually dates from the 1820s and originated in America. In those days it was nearly always used with reference to westerners, at least in print. James Fenimore Cooper used it in The Prairie (1827): “It was thinking of what you call consequences . . . that prevented me from . . . making it a real knock-down and drag-out.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
"I ant not really worried about schism in the church in the United States," she says, adding that the Episcopal Church "is a communion with such cultural diversity and such diversity within its own beliefs that it would be shocking if we did not have these knock-down drag-out fights about things.