Conflict Idioms | List of Conflict Idioms With Meaning and Examples

Conflict Idioms: There are many parts of speech in the English language. We can learn about these to enrich our knowledge about the subject, and we know some of these in our school life. The article contains a group of non-literal words and phrases that are used to describe something else. Just like in any other language, English has idioms, and people use Conflict idioms and phrases quite commonly worldwide.

This article provides a list of Conflict idioms a to z and defines various Conflict idioms and meaning in detail for your convenience and ease of identifying them.

Enrich your Vocabulary by practicing the English Idioms that are commonly used in everyday conversations and understand their actual meaning.

Name of Conflict Idioms

List of Conflict Idioms

Meaning and Examples of some commonly used Conflict Idioms

Argue the toss

Meaning: If someone argues about the toss, it means that they are disputing a decision or choice that has already been made.

Example: The tickets have already been booked, and there is no use in arguing the toss now.

All hell broke loose

Meaning: If you say that all hell has broken loose, it means that there was a sudden noisy and angry reaction to something in response to something else.

Example: All hell broke loose when they announced that the factory would be shut down and sold.

(To have) been through the wars

Meaning: Someone who has hardened due to much experience during difficult conditions; worn out

Example: Though this project is challenging, he will be a good choice for it since he has been through the wars.

Agree to disagree

Meaning: It means that someone has agreed to not argue about a difference of opinion

Example: After the discussion about politics heated up, they had to agree to disagree before it affected their friendship.

Add fuel to the fire

Meaning: To worsen an already existing tension between someone

Example: She was already angry, and his criticism of her quality of work only added fuel to the fire.

Conflict Idiom 1

Ancient history

Meaning: A disagreement that occurred in the past or a long time ago and that ought to be forgotten

Example: I know it is awkward to work with me as a team, but that’s ancient history, and we should not let it get between our jobs.

At each other’s throats

Meaning: It is said for two people who are arguing or fighting

Example: Those two were at each other’s throats about the disaster with the court.

At loggerheads

Meaning: In a state of persistent or constant disagreement

Example: The President of the company and the CEO have been at loggerheads over the situation for months now.

Bad blood

Meaning: Enmity or hatred that stems from some event in the past

Example: There has been bad blood between them years ago since they both dated the same guy.

Beat it

Meaning: A rude way of telling someone to stop annoying you

Example: I am tired of your constant whining, just beat it.

Bone to pick

Meaning: It means that you are annoyed with someone, and you want to talk to them about it directly.

Example: He said that he has a bone to pick with me about my statement.

Call someone’s bluff

Meaning: To challenge someone to do what they threatened to believe that they will not dare to do it

Example: After the neighbor’s threats to call the police for his dog barking, Jack decided to call the bluff, and then there were no more complaints.

Caught in a crossfire

Meaning: If someone is caught in a crossfire, it means that they are suffering the effects of an argument or a dispute between two people or groups.

Example: When my two best friends ended up having a heated argument, I was caught in a crossfire and could not decide what to do.

Clear the air

Meaning: To diffuse the tension or be honest about the conflict so as to reduce its intensity

Example: The boss called the meeting so that she could clear the air and move forward after the conflicts we have been having with our teammates and staff.

Come into conflict

Meaning: To be different in such a way that prevents agreement

Example: There are a few cases in which these rules come into conflict with each other.

Conflict of interest

Meaning: A dispute between the private interests and the official responsibilities of a person Example: When the teacher’s daughter broke the rules, we could sense some conflict of interest.

Conflict with (something)

Meaning: To interfere or clash with someone or something

Example: He had a very bad conflict with his mother last Thursday.

Cut (someone) to the quick

Meaning: To deeply hurt someone emotionally

Example: When you blamed me for the disaster at school, that really cut me to the quick.

Dead ahead

Meaning: It means that something is directly ahead, and it can be in the literal sense or otherwise.

Example: Sam and I never communicate anymore. I could see heartbreak dead ahead.

Devil’s advocate

Meaning: If someone is playing the devil’s advocate during a discussion, it means that they are pretending to be against a particular idea or plan in order to determine the validity of the arguments in favor of it.

Example: She decided to play the devil’s advocate to see how strongly I felt about the project and the residents.

Fight like cats and dogs

Meaning: Two people who frequently have violent arguments even though they are fond of each other

Example: The couple next door fights like cats and dogs, but they are still together after fifteen years.

Dirty look

Meaning: A facial manner or expression that shows disapproval or disagreement

Example: He gave me a dirty look when I brought up his ex-girlfriend.

Game of chicken

Meaning: A conflicting situation in which neither side will back down due to fear of seeming cowardly or like a chicken

Example: The argument between my two teammates turned into a game of chicken, and neither wanted to be the first one to back down even though it was best for both of them if they did.

Get bent out of shape

Meaning: Become angry or upset with something or someone

Example: I was just about to make a suggestion about the topic when she got all bent out of shape about it.

Give someone a piece of your mind

Meaning: Tell someone angrily what you think about a subject

Example: I cannot believe they had the audacity to fire me when I had worked for them for over five years when it wasn’t even my fault. I’m going to go down there and give them a piece of my mind.

Go against the stream/ tide

Meaning: It means that someone refuses to conform to the current trends or norms or the behavior of other people

Example: Shila can be difficult to work with since she likes to go against the tide constantly.

Hammer and tongs

Meaning: If people are fighting hammer and tongs, it means that they are arguing fiercely with a lot of energy and plenty of noise

Example: The neighbors had been going at it hammer and tongs again since their fight two nights ago.

Have it out with someone

Meaning: To have an argument with someone to settle something related to a dispute once and for all

Example: The tension was building for months, and I thought that enough was enough, and I had it all out with Jacob, and now we’re fine.

Let bygones be bygones

Meaning: Agree to forget about something related to a conflict in the past

Example: My ex-boyfriend and I had decided to let bygones be bygones and decide our tasks like adults.

Let sleeping dogs lie

Meaning: To ask someone not to interfere with a situation since they are most likely going to cause a condition that can create new problems

Example: Listen to me carefully, they have settled their difference, and it is high time they let sleeping dogs lie.

Lock horns

Meaning: If you or someone locks horns with somebody, it means that they or you are fighting with someone about something.

Example: If there is another incident like this in the future in this building, I swear that the occupants will be locking horns!

No love lost

Meaning: It means that two people or groups or organizations do not like each other at all.

Example: No love was lost between the Democrats and the Conservatives in our country.

On the warpath

Meaning: Furious; leading to some dispute

Example: My husband has been on the warpath since I put a scratch in his new car.

Conflict Idiom 2

Pick a fight

Meaning: Intentionally provoke someone to fight or argue

Example: There is no use in picking a fight with the wrong guys since you are the one who will get hurt.

Pissing contest

Meaning: A valueless and meaningless conflict or competition about something, typically between males

Example: Larry and Ted were in a pissing contest at the meeting today, and the rest of us had a great time watching them being so sensitive.

Rake over the ashes

Meaning: To restart a settled argument or examine a failure

Example: We have already decided to give up. There is no need to rake over the ashes.

Rub it in

Meaning: Say something that makes someone feel bad about a mistake that they are already guilty about

Example: I know that the entire party was ruined due to my mistake, but you don’t have to rub it in.

Sore point

Meaning: A sensitive topic for a specific person or group of people

Example: Please refrain from discussing her breakup; it is her sore point.

Spoiling for a fight

Meaning: Wanting to fight or eager to argue with someone; a combative attitude

Example: Watch out for Sameen tomorrow. She is spoiling for a fight in public after John criticized her in front of everyone at the meeting today.

Stab someone in the back

Meaning: To betray someone

Example: I thought that he was my friend, but as soon as she was in front of the professor, she stabbed me in the back and discredited my work.

Take someone to task

Meaning: Reprimand someone strictly

Example: The boss hired me to task after I was late to the meeting for the launching of the new website.

Throw elbows

Meaning: Be physically or figuratively combative

Example: Our team will have to throw elbows a bit to get our questions answered since we are at the back of the room.

To have a chip on one’s shoulder

Meaning: To be combative or consistently argumentative

Example: He can be tough to get along with since he has a chip on his shoulder and can blow up at you over the tiniest details.

Witch hunt

Meaning: An organized attempt to persecute an unpopular person or group of people and blame them for a problem

Example: Falling in the polls after the corruption investigations, the president denied the charges and chalked them up to a witch hunt that was being carried out by his opponents.

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