Definition of pick a fight (or quarrel) in US English:

pick a fight (or quarrel)

phrase

  • Talk or behave in such a way as to provoke an argument or fight.

    • ‘Her husband picks a fight with her if she seems to be happy, he shouts at her, criticises everything about her, distorts and twists things, and cannot abide her having any kind of friendships - even with her own family.’
    • ‘I don't know what kind of trouble police were expecting, but I can't see any of these kids picking a fight with anyone at this point, let alone cops with guns.’
    • ‘I think one of the reasons why I rarely, if ever, actually pick a fight or argument is because I play the scene out inside my head before I do anything.’
    • ‘Instead of picking a fight with his party, he has been forced to adopt a tone we have never heard from him before.’
    • ‘One of her neighbours has said: ‘She's picked a fight with everybody around here.’’
    • ‘I believe that she finally came to the conclusion that if she ever picked a fight with me, she was fighting a losing battle.’
    • ‘At another time, the commission would not dare to pick a quarrel with the president over such a trifle matter.’
    • ‘‘Sometimes he just almost seems to pick a fight with people for the sake of picking a fight, and I don't think that can be very helpful,’ he says.’
    • ‘If we'd have been in the city, I'd have thought maybe he was picking a fight, but we were in the country and this was just a good-natured country fellow who had a few beers in him.’
    • ‘‘If they want to pick a fight, they've picked a fight with the wrong guy,’ he said in a telephone interview.’
    provoke, start, cause, incite, invite, foment, stir up, whip up, encourage, kindle, instigate, excite, prompt, bring about
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