bring a knife to a gunfight

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bring a knife to a gunfight (third-person singular simple present brings a knife to a gunfight, present participle bringing a knife to a gunfight, simple past and past participle brought a knife to a gunfight)

  1. (idiomatic) To enter into a confrontation or other challenging situation without being adequately equipped or prepared.
    • 1987, David Mamet, The Untouchables[1]:
      Isn't that just like a wop? Brings a knife to a gun fight.
    • 1994, Gus Lee, China Boy[2], →ISBN, page 310:
      That is why one should never bring a knife to a gunfight, a worm should not challenge Godzilla, and a chump should never box a boxer.
    • 2006, Jeff Edwards, Torpedo[3], →ISBN, page xiii:
      [W]e can shoot down missiles. . . . Our Kingfisher sonars can detect mines. . . . Our ships are hardened against chemical and biological weapons. But how do you stop a torpedo? . . . The best engineers in the business agree that nearly every class of torpedo currently being deployed has the capacity to sink one of our ships with a single shot. . . . [W]e are the poor bastards that brought a knife to a gunfight.