Definition of fighting words in English:

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fighting words

plural noun

informal
1Words indicating a willingness to fight or challenge someone.
Example sentences
  • Translation: This six-letter word is fighting talk.
  • Still to come, it's a war of words and the Democrats are studying those fighting words.
  • ‘We're in mourning - leave us alone,’ he begged, before finding his voice and a vocabulary of fighting words.
1.1US Words expressing an insult, especially of an ethnic, racial, or sexist nature.
Example sentences
  • But there was no need to touch someone you wanted to insult - you could utter fighting words instead.
  • So why would ‘Black girl ‘yelled across a schoolyard become fighting words for me?’
  • In the presence of fighting words, the manly form of behavior was not turning the other cheek, but rather an immediate and aggressive physical response.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fight·ing words

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