One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Words indicating a willingness to fight or challenge a person or thing.
- ‘Those were fighting words for councillor Stu Kennedy, who refused to compromise the bypass road.’
- ‘Such fighting talk has earned the father-of-two, who has set up home in Harrogate, the nickname of ‘The Bulldozer’ from certain sections of his workforce.’
- ‘Those are fighting words in the staid business of reinsurance.’
- ‘This is fighting talk by a man who has come to appreciate that he speaks from a position of power.’
- ‘And it seems as if Dominique has already mastered the fighting talk.’
- ‘Mr McDonagh has heard such fighting talk before, but this time thinks something will happen.’
- ‘But despite the fighting talk, he admitted the Lib Dems could have done better after failing to make a much hoped-for election breakthrough in terms of Parliamentary seats.’
- ‘These are fighting words for a man whose earlier work seems a long, quiet morning of congenial thought.’
- ‘I mentioned a need for more accommodation towards asylum seekers - fighting words in KKK country.’
- ‘Maybe Hood's just looking for attention, and once that attention is achieved, he suddenly loses his fighting talk.’
- ‘‘We're in mourning - leave us alone,’ he begged, before finding his voice and a vocabulary of fighting words.’
- ‘He seemed to be about to back up those fighting words with something more substantial when he won the first race of the season.’
- ‘There was fighting talk.’
- ‘Besides, Paterson is in too hospitable a mood for fighting talk.’
- ‘Still to come, it's a war of words and the Democrats are studying those fighting words.’
- ‘But his fighting talk: ‘Any company that wants to have a good reputation in Scotland as long as I'm First Minister should be taking that into account,’ fell on deaf ears.’
- ‘This, as they say, is fighting talk and the problem is now so grave as to demand such fighting talk from the outset of his new ministry.’
- ‘Translation: This six-letter word is fighting talk.’
- ‘That amounts to fighting words in a business devoted to selling kids image over substance.’
- ‘You want to know what fighting words sound like.’
- ‘Such thinking only provokes more fighting talk.’
2US Insulting or provocative words, especially of an ethnic, racial, or sexist nature, considered unacceptable or illegal by certain institutions and afforded less protection than free speech.
- ‘Those aren't fighting words where we come from, but were in his world.’
- ‘She thought her mother would say some tough fighting words or something that was completely uncaring at all.’
- ‘So why would ‘Black girl ‘yelled across a schoolyard become fighting words for me?’’
- ‘But there was no need to touch someone you wanted to insult - you could utter fighting words instead.’
- ‘While I have no idea what that means, I sense these are fighting words.’
- ‘In the presence of fighting words, the manly form of behavior was not turning the other cheek, but rather an immediate and aggressive physical response.’
- ‘Those are angry, fighting words to those who think King deserves a place of honor in history.’
- ‘A follow-up letter from Corey was full of unretractable fighting words.’
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