rough and tumble

Idioms & Phrases

rough and tumble

Disorderly scuffling or infighting, as in She had some reservations about entering the rough and tumble of local politics. This expression originated in the late 1700s in boxing, where it referred to a fight without rules. [Mid-1800s]

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