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I’ve got a bone to pick

I have something to complain about

TRANSLATION

a bone to pick = mit jmd. ein Hühnchen rupfen

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“Alan Collinge HAS A BONE TO PICK with the Romney campaign on the issue of student loans.”

Forbes Magazine

Did you
know?

a bone to pick
idiom

- to want to talk to someone about something annoying they have done

Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary


ORIGIN

The expression “bone to pick”, dates back to the 16th century and refers to a dog chewing on and picking clean a large bone. Being careful not to leave out one morsel of meat, dogs tend to be very meticulous about picking bones. They can appear aggressive with exposed teeth and start growling if someone comes too close.

This picture led to the figurative sense of an annoying problem that requires considerable discussion or argument.


BONEY IDIOMS

- bone of contention = something that people argue about for a long time (The main bone of contention was over the length of the contract)

- chilled to the bone = to be very cold (I was chilled to the bone after waiting for more than 30 minutes for the train to arrive)

- cut to the bone = if a service or a budget is cut to the bone, it is reduced as much as possible (In order to make a profit, the airline cut on-board services to the bone)

- be skin and bones / a bag of bones = to be very thin (Many fashion models appear to be just skin and bones)

- make no bones about it = to say clearly what you think or feel although you may embarrass or offend someone (I’ll make no bones about it, if you have one more beer you are not getting behind the wheel of your car!)


SYNONYMS

axe to grind, beef, contention, bone of contention, BONE TO PICK, complaint, disagreement, dispute, grouse, gripe, have words, lamentation, moans and groans


SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation today, say something like:

“Hey,… I wonder why the English PICK BONES and the Germans pluck chickens?”


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Paul Smith

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