go for the jugular

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go for the jugular (third-person singular simple present goes for the jugular, present participle going for the jugular, simple past went for the jugular, past participle gone for the jugular)

  1. (idiomatic) To exert an unrestrained, aggressive effort, especially by assailing an opponent's or victim's area of greatest vulnerability.
    • 1988 March 1, "Litigation is War–True or False?," ABA Journal, p. 8 (retrieved 29 March 2011):
      The cover story of last July's Journal was on hardball litigation tactics. It quoted lawyers talking about pulling out all the stops, going for the jugular.
    • 2005 Jan. 29, Neil Harmon, "Hewitt to carry the hopes of a nation," times.online (UK) (retrieved 29 March 2011):
      Hewitt, angered by being kept hanging around, went for the jugular, breaking Roddick’s first and third service games to set himself up for a victory completed with another error from Roddick’s forehand wing.
    • 2008 Aug. 28, Joe Klein, "What Bush Taught McCain," Time:
      We have just now completed the month of August, which is the cruelest month for Democrats, the month when Republicans go for the jugular, trotting out arguments — some valid, most scurrilous — that paint their Democratic rivals as weak, élite or unpatriotic.


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