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handbags at ten paces

handbags at ten paces n. a verbal spat, usually between athletes on the field of play. Editorial Note: Probably related to any number of Monty Python sketches which have the actors dressed in drag, battling each other with handbags, such as in Series 1, Episode 11, “Battle of Pearl Harbor.” The Oxford English Dictionary has an entry for the broader use of handbag in related forms. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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