A statement bound to start a quarrel or fight. It is often expressed as them's fighting words, as in You say your father's smarter than mine? Them's fighting words. The ungrammatical use of them's for “those are” emphasizes the folksy tone of this colloquialism, first recorded in Ring Lardner's Gullible's Travels (1917).
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
How to use fighting words in a sentence
Among these are obscenity, defamation, fighting words, express incitement to unlawful conduct, and threats.Does Free Speech Cover Murder Fantasies? The Supreme Court’s Definition of a ‘Threat’ | Geoffrey R. Stone | December 1, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
fighting words like those that propelled his team to the top of the industry, but it looks like that drive might have been sapped.
Cruz, who certainly considers himself Hispanic, had fighting words in response.
Those are fighting words in a nearly half-Latino city where Tex-Mex restaurants outnumber all others.
Obviously, a federal judge so inclined could very easily find that the offensive name constitutes fighting words or slander.So Redskins Sponsor FedEx Is OK With That Racist Team Name, Too? | Michael Tomasky | June 20, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
He knew that even knuckling down, and changing from man to worm to take back his fighting words, couldn't do any good.Asteroid of Fear | Raymond Zinke Gallun