bone of contention

See more synonyms for bone of contention on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a subject, cause, or focal point of a dispute: The terms of the old man's will were a bone of contention to his survivors.

Origin of bone of contention

First recorded in 1705–15
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for bone of contention

altercation, argument, beef, conflict, controversy, debate, disagreement, dispute, issue, problem

British Dictionary definitions for bone of contention

bone of contention

noun
  1. the grounds or subject of a dispute
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with bone of contention

bone of contention

Main issue of a disagreement; something to quarrel about. For example, Grandfather's will was a bone of contention for the whole family. This expression alludes to two dogs fighting (contending) over a single bone. In slightly different guise, bone of dissension, it was used figuratively in the 16th century and took its present form in the early 1700s.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.