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loaded for bear

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Fully prepared for action; also, spoiling for a fight. For example, Bill tackled his new sales route loaded for bear, or When Martin was three hours late, his wife was loaded for bear. This term, dating from the mid-1800s, alludes to the heavy charge of powder or lead that hunters use for large animals like a bear.

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

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