Learn Commonly Used Conflict Idioms in English with Meaning and Examples.
List of 30 Commonly Used Conflict Idioms in English.
You can jump to any section of this lesson:
- 1 (To Have) Been Through The Wars
- 2 (To Open Up a) Can of Whoop-Ass
- 3 Add Fuel To The Fire
- 4 Add Insult To Injury
- 5 Agree To Disagree
- 6 Ancient History
- 7 At Each Other’s Throats
- 8 At Loggerheads
- 9 Bad Blood
- 10 Clear the Air
- 11 Cut (Someone) to the Quick
- 12 Dead Ahead
- 13 Dirty Look
- 14 Game of Chicken
- 15 Get Bent Out of Shape
- 16 Give Someone a Piece of Your Mind
- 17 Have It Out with Someone
- 18 Let Bygones Be Bygones
- 19 On the Warpath
- 20 Pick a Fight
- 21 Pissing Contest
- 22 Rake Over the Ashes
- 23 Rub It In
- 24 Sore Point
- 25 Spoiling for a Fight
- 26 Stab Someone in the Back
- 27 Take Someone to Task
- 28 Throw Elbows
- 29 To Have a Chip on One’s Shoulder
- 30 Witch Hunt
(To Have) Been Through The Wars
- Meaning: Hardened, having much experience of difficult conditions, worn out
- Example: Frank will be a good leader on this project. It’s going to be difficult, but he’s been through the wars.
(To Open Up a) Can of Whoop-Ass
- Meaning: To attack another person physically (very casual, slightly vulgar)
- Example: We’ll discuss the problem. And if we don’t reach agreement, I’ll open up a can of whoop-ass.
Add Fuel To The Fire
- Meaning: Worsen already existing tension
- Example: Sally was already angry, and Kim’s criticism of her work on the project just added fuel to the fire.
Add Insult To Injury
- Meaning: Compound a defeat with humiliation or mockery
- Example: Adding insult to injury, the goalie fell in the mud after allowing the winning goal.
Agree To Disagree
- Meaning: Accept or set aside a disagreement
- Example: We can discuss this again later. For now, let’s agree to disagree.
- Meaning: Something, such as a disagreement, that happened long ago and ought to be forgotten
- Example: I know it’s awkward working together because we used to go out. But that’s ancient history – we shouldn’t worry about it.
At Each Other’s Throats
- Meaning: Constantly and strongly arguing
- Example: My vacation? It was terrible. My mother and my sister were at each other’s throats the whole time.
- Meaning: In a state of persistent disagreement.
- Example: The president and the legislature have been at loggerheads over the defense budget for months now.
- Meaning: Enmity or hatred that stems from something in the past
- Example: There’s bad blood between Kathy and Patricia-years ago they both dated the same buy.
Clear the Air
- Meaning: Defuse tension, be honest about conflict so as to reduce it
- Example: I’ve called this meeting so that we can clear the air and move forward after the conflicts we’ve been having among members of our staff.
Cut (Someone) to the Quick
- Meaning: To deeply hurt someone emotionally
- Example: When you criticized my singing, that really cut me to the quick.
- Meaning: Directly ahead, either in a literal or a figurative sense
- Example: Joe and I never communicate anymore. I see heartbreak dead ahead.
- Meaning: A facial manner that signifies disapproval
- Example: My husband gave me a dirty look when I brought up a politlical controversy.
Useful Conflict Idioms in English
…30 Commonly Used Conflict Idioms in English…
Game of Chicken
- Meaning: A conflict situation in which neither side will back down for fear of seeming cowardly (chicken)
- Example: The argument between Sean and Tyler has turned into a game of chicken – neither one wants to be the first to back down, even though they’d both be better off if they did.
Get Bent Out of Shape
- Meaning: Become angry, upset
- Example: I was just making a suggestion. Don’t get all bent out of shape out it.
Give Someone a Piece of Your Mind
- Meaning: Angrily tell someone what you think
- Example: I can’t believe the school punished my child when they fight wasn’t her fault. I’m going to go down there right now and give them a piece of my mind.
Have It Out with Someone
- Meaning: To have an argument with someone in order to settle a dispute
- Example: The tension had been building for months between Frances and Patricia. They finally had it out, and now they’re fine.
Let Bygones Be Bygones
- Meaning: Agree to forget about a past conflict
- Example: My ex-boyfriend and I have decided to let bygones be bygones and stop arguing. We’re not getting back together, but we’re going to be friends.
On the Warpath
- Meaning: Very angry
- Example: I’d better work late at the office – my husband is on the warpath because I put a big scratch in his new car.
Pick a Fight
- Meaning: Intentionally provoke a conflict or fight with someone
- Example: Watch out when you’re at bar. There are always a lot of guys there who want to pick a fight with you.
- Meaning: A meaningless argument or competition, typically between males
- Example: Larry and Ted got into a pissing contest at the meeting today – the rest of us were just bored.
Rake Over the Ashes
- Meaning: Restart a settled argument; examine a failure
- Example: We’ve already dealt with the problem of Bob’s absenteeism. There’s no reason to rake over the ashes.
Rub It In
- Meaning: Say something that makes someone feel even worse about a mistake
- Example: I know I botched the sales presentation. You don’t have to rub it in.
- Meaning: A sensitive topic for a particular person
- Example: Don’t discuss divorce with Julia – that’s a sore point with her.
Spoiling for a Fight
- Meaning: Combative, wanting conflict, eager to argue or fight
- Example: Watch out for Enrique. He’s spoiling for a fight after John criticized him in the meeting yesterday.
Stab Someone in the Back
- Meaning: To betray (somebody)
- Example: Suzanne acted like she was my friend. But then she stabbed me in the back and went out with my boyfriend.
Take Someone to Task
- Meaning: Reprimand someone strongly
- Example: The boss took me to task after I missed the deadline for the new website.
- Meaning: Be combative; be aggressive (physically or figuratively)
- Example: We’ll have to throw elbows a bit to get our question answered because we’re seated at the back of the room.
To Have a Chip on One’s Shoulder
- Meaning: To be combative, to be consistently argumentative
- Example: John can be very difficult to get along with. He has a chip on his shoulder, and he’ll blow up at you over the smallest things.
- Meaning: An organized attempt to persecute an unpopular group of people and blame them for a problem
- Example: Falling in the polls after corruption investigations, the president denied the charges and chalked them up to a witch hunt being carried out by his opponents.
Commonly Used Conflict Idioms in English.
- conflict idioms
- conflict idioms with meaning
- english idioms: conflict
- idioms about conflict
- Idioms relating to ARGUMENTS
- Idioms Relating to Conflict
- list of idioms
- Rub It In
- social life idioms: conflict
- Sore Point
- Spoiling for a Fight
- Stab Someone in the Back
- Take Someone to Task
- Throw Elbows
- To Have a Chip on One's Shoulder