› dictionary › english › handbags-at-dawn. handbags at dawn. A confrontation or disagreement that is highly aggressive, emotionally expressive, or dramatic, but which does not end or result in violence. Origin of handbags-at-dawn In British slang a fight where the protagonists are unable or unwilling to seriously hurt each other is commonly referred to as a. A catty squabble. Etymology: In British slang a fight where the protagonists are unable or unwilling to seriously hurt each other is commonly refered to as a. s UK. Jocular derivation of pistols at dawn, replacing pistols with handbags, referring to women hitting each other with handbags during a catfight. The. A catty fight. Derives from the more traditional "pistols at dawn", but with the selection of weapon implying that the participants are of the weaker sex. Handbags At Dawn (Compilation) album cover · Various – Handbags At Dawn. Label: Human Condition – HCCD Format. (New Zealand, informal) Competitors on a sporting field (often in a rugby game) getting into a fight - looking threatening but not really doing any damage. The handbags at ten paces and handbags at dawn versions began to be used in the s to describe confrontations between players in football matches. This phrase is itself a variation of 'pistols at dawn' which was a typical way of fighting a duel. The phrase 'handbags at dawn' evokes a mental image of old.


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