A more serious version of ‘no-holds-barred’

The phrase ‘no-holds-barred’ implies a fight, conflict or battle without any rules, but is relatively modern and comes from wrestling, giving it a friendly feel.

What is the name for a fight where one or more of the combatants will do anything to win? (not necessarily but including killing).

A prime example of this is when a character is trying to escape/kill the villain in a horror movie – nothing they do to fight back would be considered ‘too far’ (although in the movies they will usually panic instead of fighting with full force).

Fight/brawl/punch-up implies or belies some level of decorum (for example no biting, no eye-gouging, no false surrendering, no gratuitous use of ‘unchivalrous’ weapons).

war/conflict/battle implies some wider scope that may not be present.


Another phrase that’s used to refer to an extremely violent fight is knock-down drag-out.

marked by extreme violence or bitterness and by the showing of no mercy

Source : Link , Question Author : jMan , Answer Author : Barmar

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