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Up in arms

Posted by Bob Adams on July 14, 2008 at 12:10

I have been trying to explain to two German visitors the phrase 'Up in arms'. No trouble with the meaning, but any ideas of the origin? It sounds as though a person or persons would have been 'up in arms' when preparing for a fight. Prior to this they would be highly annoyed with the action of someone else, the meaning which it now has. Am I right?