saber

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saber rattling

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 sabre-rattling before we end up at war.
See also: rattling, saber

rattle (one's) saber

To make aggressive, blustering, and typically empty threats. I'd like to think that his threats of nuclear extermination 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.
See also: rattle, saber

rattle one's saber

 and 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!
See also: rattle, saber

saber rattling

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.
See also: rattling, saber