Up in arms

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Up in arms is an idiom that has been in use for several hundred years. We will examine the meaning of the idiomatic phrase up in arms, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Up in arms means to be extremely upset about something, to be angry, to be appalled, to be incensed. If someone is up in arms he is highly agitated about something or shocked by something and is usually vocal about it. The expression up in arms includes the noun, arms, meaning weapons. The term in arms was originally used in the 1500s to mean someone carrying weapons and ready to fight. By the 1700s, the phrase up in arms came to mean to be highly agitated about something, but without the brandishing of weapons.


When the Metropolitan Transportation Authority walks into Community Board 8’s transportation committee room, they should already understand that our community is up in arms over these proposed service cuts. (The Riverdale Press)

In a bizarre incident, an entire village in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly district was up in arms against a 32-year-old woman who filed cases of rape against four identified and 35 unidentified persons at the cantonment police station. (The Khaleej Times)

Janitors in Singapore earn more than us’: Malaysia’s medical grads are up in arms over incentive cuts – here’s what we know (The Business Insider)