Idioms title

The Idiom Attic - a collection of hundreds of English idioms, each one explained.

"conflict" idioms...

See also, the Phrase Thesaurus list of phrases that contain the word conflict

and, a list of phrases that relate in some way the word conflict

" A bull and cow "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for a row or argument.
Example:
They were shouting and screaming at each other - a real bull and cow.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly in the UK, but occasionally elsewhere too.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   cockney_rhyming_slang   animals  
" A bunch of fives "
Meaning:
A fist, as used in a fight.
Example:
Punch me would you? How’d you like a bunch of fives in your eye?
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly in the UK, but occasionally elsewhere too.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   the_human_body   slang  
" A slap on the wrist "
Meaning:
A mild rebuke, often given when a more severe punishment might be expected.
Example:
Those muggers should get a jail term but these days they’ll probably just get a fine and a slap on the wrist.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   the_human_body   america  
" Add fuel to the fire (or flames) "
Meaning:
Make a bad situation even worse than it is.
Example:
Going into that race riot and telling them to get back to Africa was really adding fuel to the fire.
Where did it originate?:
Britain - 17th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
" An axe to grind "
Meaning:
A dispute with someone.
Example:
Hey, I've an axe to grind with you. Didn't I hear you calling my sister a slag?
Where did it originate?:
USA, 18th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   america  
" Be glad to see the back of "
Meaning:
Be happy when a person leaves or when an unpleasant situation is ended.
Example:
He came for two days and stayed a month. To be honest I was glad to see the back of him when he finally left.
Where is it used?:
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" Bitch slap "
Meaning:
An open-handed slap in the face intended to be humiliating.
Example:
He wasn't worth the respect of a punch. Bitch-slapping was more humiliating.
Where did it originate?:
USA, late 20th century.
Where is it used?:
Widely used, but mainly amongst the young.
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More idioms about:   slang   america  
" Canteen culture "
Meaning:
Boorish behaviour by rank and file police or soldiers.
Example:
The place was full of bikini pin-ups. No wonder that female recruit didn't feel comfortable in that canteen culture environment.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, late 20th century.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but more commonly in Britain than elsewhere.
Hear the idiom spoken:
" Chew someone out "
Meaning:
Verbally scold someone.
Example:
Little Jimmy ran out right in front of that car. His mother really chewed him out for that.
Where did it originate?:
USA, mid 20th century.
Where is it used?:
Quite widely used but more so in the USA than elsewhere.
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More idioms about:   america  
" Cop an attitude "
Meaning:
Adopt an aggressive stance.
Example:
The whole gang stood there defiantly glaring. They really copped an attitude.
Where did it originate?:
USA, mid to late 20th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   america  
" Drive someone up the wall "
Meaning:
Irritate or annoy very much.
Example:
He wouldn't stop going on about it. He was driving me up the wall.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 1950s. An extension of 'up the wall' meaning angry.
Where is it used?:
Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
" Ethnic cleansing "
Meaning:
The singling out and killing of a specific ethnic group.
Example:
The ethnic cleansing of the Croats in the Bosnian War left the country open wide to the Serbs.
Where did it originate?:
USA, late 20th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   america  
" Flip the bird "
Meaning:
To aggressively raise your middle finger at someone as a sign of displeasure.
Example:
I stopped the car a little too close when he crossed the road and he flipped the bird as a response.
Where did it originate?:
USA, mid 20th century.
Where is it used?:
Mostly USA.
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More idioms about:   the_human_body   america  
" Food fight "
Meaning:
Chaotic collective behaviour where items of food are thrown about wildly.
Example:
It was supposed to be a quiet wedding reception but some of the girls got drunk and started a food fight. There were canapes and buns flying everywhere.
Where did it originate?:
USA, mid 20th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   food   america  
" If it's not one thing, it's another "
Meaning:
Said after more than one thing goes wrong.
Example:
The boiler broke and now my phone is out of battery so I can't ring for help. If it's not one thing it's another...
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" In your face "
Meaning:
Aggressive confrontation.
Example:
The police kept interrogating him. They were in his face for hours.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 1970s.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   the_human_body   america  
" Joshing me "
Meaning:
Tricking me.
Example:
I know you didn't box with Mike Tyson. Stop joshing me.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 19th century.
Where is it used?:
Mostly USA.
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More idioms about:   america  
" Make a scene "
Meaning:
Cause a disturbance.
Example:
I know your ex-wife is here with her lover but don't make a scene, that will just make you feel worse.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, early 19th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
" No dice "
Meaning:
A refusal to accept a proposition.
Example:
You want me to work all weekend for no extra pay? Sorry, no dice.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 1920s.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide. but more common in the USA than elsewhere.
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More idioms about:   america  
" On the fence "
Meaning:
Unwilling to give one's view about which side you support.
Example:
Increase taxes or reduce spending. Who knows? I'm sitting on the fence on that one.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 19th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   america  
" Open warfare "
Meaning:
Engaged in active fighting or dispute.
Example:
The folks across the street have taken to hurling abuse whenever they see us, and we are giving it back - it's open warfare.
Where is it used?:
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" Over my dead body "
Meaning:
Said when you absolutely refuse to allow something to happen.
Example:
He bullied me at school and now you want to promote him. Over my dead body!
Where did it originate?:
Britain, circa 1800. From the writings of Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   death   the_human_body   hyperbole  
" Pass the buck "
Meaning:
Avoid responsibility by giving it to someone else.
Example:
The government has been in power for six years now but every time there's a crisis they pass the buck and blame the previous administration.
Where did it originate?:
USA, early 20th century. Later popularised by president Harry Truman.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   america  
" Pommy bashing "
Meaning:
Australian slang term for physical or verbal attacks on the English.
Example:
As Londoners, we never felt comfortable on our trip to Sydney. Every day we were subject to pommie bashing.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, late 20th century.
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain and Australia.
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More idioms about:   australian_origin  
" Pull your horns in "
Meaning:
Become less ambitious; curb your enthusiasm.
Example:
The team came bottom of the league last year and now has no money. They'll have to pull their horns in when making bids for new players.
Where did it originate?:
Britain - 19th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   the_human_body  
" Put a sock in it "
Meaning:
An instruction to a noisy person or a group to be quiet.
Example:
Hey, you kids, put a sock in it - I can't hear myself think in here.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, early 20th century.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but considered rather old-fashioned.
Hear the idiom spoken:
" Queer bashing "
Meaning:
Making an unprovoked physical or verbal attack on homosexuals.
Example:
Since the skinheads have moved out of the area and it's become more cosmopolitan there has been a marked reduction in the instances of queer-bashing.
Where did it originate?:
Britain - 1970s.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but more common in Britain than elsewhere.
Hear the idiom spoken:
" Queer the pitch "
Meaning:
Ruin a plan or undertaking.
Example:
That scrapyard opening next to Julies bridal shop has really queered her pitch.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 19th century.
Where is it used?:
Widely used, but mostly among the older generation.
Hear the idiom spoken:
" Revenge porn "
Meaning:
The malicious posting of sexual images online to harm the reputation of an ex partner.
Example:
After she ended it he posted some really nasty pictures of her from when they were together. No other words for it than revenge porn.
Where did it originate?:
USA, late 20th century.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but not amongst the older generations.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   sex   america  
" Shoot down in flames "
Meaning:
Destroy an argument or theory.
Example:
They sent their perpetual motion ideas to the Royal Society. Of course, it was all nonsense and they were shot down in flames.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 1940s. An allusion to fighter planes being shot down.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, although rather old-fashioned.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   hyperbole  
" Spoiler alert "
Meaning:
Said, or printed, as a warning that the following will give away the ending or important plot development of a drama.
Example:
I've just been to see Shakespeare's Othello. Spoiler alert - Othello dies.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 1980s.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, mostly by the young.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   america  
" Stab someone in the back "
Meaning:
Hurt someone who was close to us by betraying them secretly and breaking their trust.
Example:
All my friends promised to vote for me but when the election came and I got no votes I knew I'd been stabbed in the back.
Where did it originate?:
First seen in James Joyce's Ulysees, 1922.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   the_human_body  
" Suck it up "
Meaning:
Accept a bad situation.
Example:
Listen Jedd, it's over, Janine will never be coming back. Suck it up and move on.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 20th century.
Where is it used?:
More common in the USA than elsewhere, but spreading Worldwide.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   america  
" Throw the towel in "
Meaning:
Give up, especially to avoid further punishment when facing certain defeat.
Example:
AltaVista tried to hang on and compete with Google, but eventually they just couldn't compete and were forced to throw the towel in.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 1910s. The allusion is to a boxing match where throwing the towel in indicates a concession
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   sport   household_items   america  
" Trouble and strife "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for wife.
Example:
Twenty years we've been married now, the trouble and strife and myself.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   family   cockney_rhyming_slang  
" Us versus them "
Meaning:
Denoting the enmity between two opposing groups.
Example:
There's no way we will be negotiating over this deal. Its us versus them and let the best will.
Where is it used?:
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" Wind someone up "
Meaning:
Deliberately draw attention to something with the intention of causing trouble.
Example:
There was no need to point out that the girl who dumped him was in the next room. That was only going to wind him up.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 20th century.
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
" Yarn bombing "
Meaning:
The adorning of public buildings with knitted or crocheted material - either for fun or to make a political point.
Example:
We wanted to draw attention to the trees that the council planned to cut down so we got the local guerrilla knitters to yarn bomb them for us.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, early 21st century.
Where is it used?:
Initially mostly Britain but quickly spreading to others countries.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   clothes  

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