at daggers drawn


at daggers drawn

Meaning | Synonyms

  • almost ready to fight
  • when two people are very upset with each other
  • to be in a state of open hostility
  • when two people do not trust each other
  • to be prepared to fight someone or something (like another country)
  • at odds
  • in disagreement
  • fighting or quarreling
  • at each other’s throat
  • in conflict

Example Sentences

  1. The two schools have been at daggers drawn for months. Ever since they played in the championship game.
  2. John and his father have been at daggers drawn for years. Nobody knows why they are so hostile towards each other.
  3. The countries are at daggers drawn about the use of the canal that they share.
  4. The two companies are at daggers drawn over the new software that is going to revolutionize their industry.
  5. The two neighboring countries have several times been at daggers drawn overextraction of the natural resources from the ocean.


The origin of the phrase is not known. It is easy to assume that it relates to the fact that men used to carry daggers on their person in order to protect themselves. The word “dagger” means an”edged or pointed weapon for thrusting, shorter than a sword.” It was easier to conceal than a sword and was a popular weapon to carry.

There are numerous theories about the origin of the word but none can be definitively proven.

Share your opinions5 Opinions

It’s mainly used in British English.

‒ HB July 28, 2018

It means showing strong dislike for someone.

‒ Arpit Chhabra July 10, 2017

The idiom AT DAGGERS DRAWN means that to be ready to fight or be ready for a battle.
I know the meaning of the idiom but not the origin. Can someone please share with me the origin of this idiom?
I hope you will.

‒ Priya Jadeja July 1, 2017

To prepared for fighting.

‒ Darjatboto May 9, 2017

Pakistan and India are at daggers drawn.

‒ zahid mehmood November 28, 2015

What's on your mind?

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