to cross swords

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - cross swords

"to cross swords"

to argue, fight or quarrel with someone in an adversarial situation


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - cross swords

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  I have got a big negotiation session tomorrow with William from ABC company.

Colleague 2:  Be really careful. William is a very strong adversary. We've crossed swords before and he is always determined to win.

Colleague 1:  You have negotiated with William before?

Colleague 2:  Yes. A couple of times. I could give you some advice regarding the best tactics to use to gain advantage.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - cross swords

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1:  Why are you leaving so early?

Friend 2:  I told my wife I would be home to help her with a few chores. I really don't want to be late and risk a long argument about my level of commitment to the relationship.

Friend 1:  I don't blame you for not wanting to cross swords with your wife. It is far better to have a happy harmonious home.

to cross swords - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   219   click for frequency by country

to cross swords - Gerund Form:

Crossing swords over who had the authority, the two managers argued for days.

to cross swords - Examples:

1)  There were also times when Xhamela and I crossed swords in the National Executive Committee of the ANC. At times the clashes were so ...

2)  ... to fight his corner means The Sunday Times may possibly rue the day it crossed swords with him even if its headline-grabbing articles did result in his resignation.

3)  ... with whom Hitchens has crossed swords in previous polemics.

4)  It's the stuff of dreams, especially since both teams have never before crossed swords in European competition.

5)  I occasionally met him in the green room after we'd crossed swords over some legal issue.

6)  ... atheists have crossed swords with religious believers over a number of issues in recent years.

7)  These two men crossed swords at the US Open in 2008 and it went to the German in five sets.

8)  I did a number of bits of work with Richard Dawkins and we crossed swords and I think we had a fair fight and I think there were fair arguments.

9)  We, and others, crossed swords years ago about whether or not to nationalise, as opposed to guarantee, the ...

10)  As Union minister, a mercurial Banerjee crossed swords with the short-tempered finance minister more than once at Cabinet meetings.

11)  ... and it will be a bloodbath for any labor politician who wants to cross swords with him. 

12)  ... avoided every species of polemic with my critics, it is a pleasure to cross swords with so chivalrous an opponent as ...

13)  Most crucially, delegates from the 193 nations represented in Dubai will cross swords on whether telecoms groups should be allowed to charge different rates ...

14)  ... because there are some delicate flowers who don't like it when people cross swords. The site lights up when there are some controversies, ...

15)  The prosecution and defense would cross swords again in some preliminary skirmishes, jousting for any minor advantage.

16)  ... crossing swords with employers unhappy with her findings.

17)  These two sides will be crossing swords in Division 3 of the league next year, ...

18)  ... both were brave and dauntless. When they were crossing swords with one another and the quarrel was still raging when ...

19)  Very different from crossing swords with a President whose plan had not (yet) been proven faulty.

20)  ... ultimate objective is to intimidate any official across the country who's thinking of crossing swords with the empire of teachers and other public-employee unions.