come to blows

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come to blows

  1. (idiomatic) To fight; to initiate physical conflict, especially subsequent to escalating tension or antagonism.
    • 1841, James Fenimore Cooper, chapter 6, in The Deerslayer:
      I'll follow you, Floating Tom, into the Mingo camp, on such an arr'nd, and will strive to do my duty, should we come to blows; though, never having been tried in battle, I don't like to promise more than I may be able to perform.
    • 1906, Upton Sinclair, The Jungle, Chapter 1:
      [T]here is a variety of drunkenness. . . . Some stagger about in each other's arms, whispering maudlin words—others start quarrels upon the slightest pretext, and come to blows and have to be pulled apart.
    • 1966, "LA Jumpy? Two Stars Near Blows," Milwaukee Sentinel (USA), 9 Sep. (retrieved 29 Aug. 2010):
      The argument grew heated and teammates grabbed the pair to prevent them from coming to blows.
    • 2009, Rania Abouzeid, "Arab-Kurd Tensions Could Threaten Iraq's Peace," Time, 24 March:
      Iraqi security forces and peshmerga almost came to blows in the disputed area of Khanaqin, in Diyala province, after Iraqi troops tried to enter the mixed town.