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