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start something

Cause trouble, especially a quarrel or fight, as in Stop bringing that up—do you want to start something? [ ; early 1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Historical Examples
  • Our men could not entirely resist the temptation to start something.

  • "Just to be sure you don't try to start something," he explained coldly.

    Skylark Three Edward Elmer Smith
  • I never done nothing but ride along that fence, hopin' for a somebody to start something.

  • Publicity is what you need, Jim, when you are trying to start something new.

    Ticktock and Jim Keith Robertson
  • "I'll start something all right, you leave it to me," Pee-wee announced darkly.

    Pee-Wee Harris Adrift Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • It seemed to be a case of waiting for the other fellow to start something.

    Fighting the Boche Underground Harry Davis Trounce
  • Still, offered Hazel, you managed to start something yesterday.

    Girls of Highland Hall Carolyn Watson Rankin
  • Hearing that we are gone, he will start something—if only to join us.

    Red Fleece Will Levington Comfort
  • Now I'm going to start something in these rotten one-horse lumber-camps west of town.'

    Main Street Sinclair Lewis
  • I wish we could start something that would wake them up before they leave.

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