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Force your enemy into a confrontation

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on November 11, 2005

In Reply to: Force your enemy into a confrontation posted by ESC on November 11, 2005

: : : Hi,

: : : There's saying that I heard a while ago, for some reason I thought it was 'brought to brook' perhaps a military term, to force your enemy into a confrontation - or, say, somebody an issue. This isn't the expression I was looking for (it doesn't exist), but I feel it has a 'watery feel'. Can anyone help?

: : : Many thanks in advance

: : : Steve

: : "Bring to a head" perhaps? That would be (on board ship anyway) somewhat watery.... ;-)

: Maybe it has to do with this meaning (from Merriam-Webster):
: Main Entry: 2 brook
: Function: transitive verb
: Etymology: Middle English brouken to use, enjoy, from Old English brucan; akin to Old High German bruhhan to use, Latin frui to enjoy
: : to stand for : TOLERATE He would brook no interference with his plans.

I suspect that what you heard was "brought to book", not "brook". To bring someone to book is to call them to account; the idea is that you compare their actions with what they should have been, and make them account for any divergence. (VSD)