have words with

Idioms & Phrases

have words with

Quarrel with, scold, as in If Pete keeps on pushing Billy I'm going to have words with him. This phrase dates from the late 1700s, although the use of words for an altercation is much older. Also see have a word with.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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