fighting word

Also found in: Idioms, Wikipedia.
Related to fighting word: them's fighting words

fight′ing word`

Usu., fighting words. language that arouses rage in an antagonist.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
In the eyes of the meat industry, "less" is a fighting word. It reminds me of 1977, when the cattle industry forced a Senate committee to tone down a similar recommendation.
He covers mass media and the national character, freedom in the lonely crowd, building without foundations, the two masters, the latter days of the Protestant establishment, and consensus becomes a fighting word.
Legally free speech is allowed unless its a fighting word. According to fighting words are words intentionally directed towards another person which are full of malice to cause the hearer to suffer emotional distress or incite him/her to immediately retaliate physically.
Gustav Niebuhr, writing in the Times, notes that where Dor[acute{o}] offered crowd scenes Moser presents individuals, "in an era that prizes the individual above the crowd." In some religious and ideological circles, "individualism" is a fighting word, as if the individual can be valued only at the expense of the community; looking at Moser's pictures one cannot rate the individual second.
1953 Amazing to recall, now that he is as permanently enshrined in the pantheon of artist-deities as Matisse or Mondrian, but Rothko, back in the early '50s, was a fighting word. I remember vividly the combative, black-and-white climate that divided the New York art world into pro-or-con extremes when faced with the unheralded innovations of the Abstract Expressionists.
And the young Toshack lapped up every fighting word.
David Brooks's clever Bobos in Paradise (2000), for instance, loses much of its edge when the cultural innovation it claims to identify -- the effortless merging of bourgeois and bohemian values by post-baby boomers -- turns up under Trilling's lens in the classic 1961 essay "On the Teaching of Modern Literature." In 1952, decades before Eurocentrism became a fighting word, Trilling seeks to analyze where artists and intellectuals should look "now that they can't depend on Europe as a cultural example." Matters nowadays too polarized for rational discussion yield to the "strenuous" reading and rigorous analysis that, for Trilling, represented the moral response to literature and to life.
While you're alive, you cannot stop fighting for what's right)!' These were the late former President Cory Aquino's fighting words to a group of supporters, including nephew Rapa Lopa who recalled her admonition to them in a feature article in this paper.
In France, where wine remains one of the most sacred national products, these were seen as fighting words. But Trump a self-proclaimed teetotaler escalated the situation even further.
This weekend news has been followed by fighting words from Dominic Raab -- the new Foreign Secretary and a Brexit hardliner -- that said that the EU will have to move on the Irish backstop.
The [euro]22,000 prize money will be donated to Fighting Words, a creative writing charity for young people.
258E is limited to two categories: 'fighting words' and 'true threats.' She asserts that there was insufficient evidence that her statements in the video or her call to DCF fell into either category.