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rattle (one's) saber
To make aggressive, blustering, typically empty threats. I'd like to think that his threats are just him rattling his saber, but I'm not too sure anymore. The boss just likes to rattle her saber every now and then to make herself feel powerful.
To make aggressive, blustering, and typically empty threats. I'd like to think that the country's threats of nuclear extermination are just them rattling sabers, but I'm not too sure anymore. The boss just likes to rattle sabers every now and then to make herself feel powerful.
Words and actions that seek to convey anger, power, and intimidation, often in a military setting. The leaders of these countries need to quit their saber rattling before we end up at war.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
rattle one's saberand rattle its saber
Fig. to make threatening statements or actions. The president is just rattling his saber. He would never attack such a small country!
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
A flamboyant display of military power; also, aggressive blustering. For example, There had been a great deal of saber rattling between the two nations but hostilities had never broken out . This term, originating about 1920 and alluding to an officer indicating he would draw his saber, at first referred to threatening military force but later was extended to more general use, as in Both candidates engaged in pre-debate saber rattling.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.