at each other’s throats: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘at each other's throats’ mean?

The idiom "at each other's throats" means to be engaged in a heated argument or conflict with someone.

Idiom Explorer

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The idiom 'at each other's throats' is closely related to two other idioms: 'come to blows' and 'cross swords'. These idioms share a similar meaning and reflect the escalating nature of conflicts between individuals or groups.

'Come to blows' is an idiom that describes a situation where a verbal argument or disagreement turns physically violent. It implies that the conflict has reached a breaking point, where the involved parties can no longer contain their anger or frustration, resulting in a physical altercation.

'Cross swords' is another idiom that signifies a confrontational or combative interaction between two parties. This idiom draws its imagery from the act of sword fighting, suggesting a battle of wits or opposing ideologies. It portrays a situation where individuals or groups fiercely debate or challenge each other's ideas, often leading to a heated argument.

The argument escalated into hostility and aggression, creating tension.

These idioms, including 'at each other's throats', all convey the intensity and escalating nature of conflicts. They highlight the potential for disagreements to spiral out of control, transforming from verbal disputes to physical confrontations.

It is important to note that while these idioms share the theme of conflict, they differ in terms of the severity and nature of the confrontation. 'At each other's throats' focuses on the general state of animosity and hostility, without specifying whether the conflict has turned violent. On the other hand, 'come to blows' explicitly implies physical aggression, indicating that the conflict has reached a point of physical confrontation. Similarly, 'cross swords' suggests a battle of ideas or principles, rather than a physical altercation.

These idioms serve as powerful reminders of the potential consequences of unresolved conflicts and the importance of finding peaceful resolutions. They highlight the destructive nature of animosity and the need for effective communication and conflict resolution skills to prevent conflicts from escalating to violent or irreparable stages.

The relationship between these idioms demonstrates the interconnectedness of language and our experiences of conflict. They capture the human experience of engaging in intense arguments or disagreements, reflecting our capacity for both constructive and destructive interactions.

The idiom 'at each other's throats' is related to the idioms 'come to blows' and 'cross swords'. They all reflect the escalating nature of conflicts and the potential for disagreements to turn into physical confrontations. These idioms remind us of the destructive consequences of unbridled animosity and emphasize the importance of effective communication and conflict resolution to maintain peace and harmony.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom *at each other's throats* can be used in a sentence:

  1. John and Sarah have been arguing constantly and are at each other's throats over the smallest issues.
  2. The two rival football teams were at each other's throats throughout the entire match, resulting in several yellow cards.
  3. During the heated political debate, the candidates were at each other's throats, attacking each other's policies and characters.

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