Paleontologist Cristiano Dal Sasso (L) and co-authors Simone Maganuco and Andrea Cau (R) examine the skeletal of the Jurassic dinosaur Saltriovenator, at the Natural history Museum the Milan, December 18, 2018. (Reuters Photo)


Now, the VOA finding out English regime Words and also Their Stories.

You are watching: I have a bone to pick with you

On this show, us take a closer look in ~ words and expressions in the English language. We define where they come from and also how and also when to usage them.

There are numerous times in life as soon as we have debates or troubles with various other people. Maybe someone go something or states something that upsets us. But, the is ideal not to let these issues fester.

When a cut or wound festers, it becomes infected and also painful. And, “fester” is likewise used to explain a difficulty that gets worse.

If you do not treatment for that clinical image, girlfriend can also use the verb stew. When we stew over something, us think about it so much that it becomes a big problem for us. As soon as we stew over something, we room upset or concerned about. We do not talk around the difficulty bothering us. We stew over it until it becomes much bigger in our very own minds.

If girlfriend stew over an unresolved problem, or let that fester, that can end up being a large issue. Girlfriend might contact it a bone of contention.

This phrase comes from the 16th-century. Imagine, if friend will, 2 dogs fighting end a bone. The “bone” is the contentious problem that two people fight over. “Contentious” defines something the is most likely to reason people to argue or disagree. For example, the people of politics has much too numerous contentious issues to name. If ns tried, we would certainly be right here all day!

Okay so, unresolved issues often only get worse. Talking about them can help. Yet how perform you raise the issue? Well, you might say to the person, “I have something upsetting to talk about with you and also it is something that you did and also I must resolve it.”

But the is rather long. Thankfully, we do have an expression that means the same thing but has under words and is much more interesting.

Instead, you have the right to simply say, “I have actually a bone come pick with you.”

As with “bone of contention,” this phrase likewise comes from dogs throughout the 16th century. This time the dogs space struggling to choose the meat turn off of a bone.

If you usage this expression, the other human will recognize that a) you have a problem on her mind that you desire to talk about and b) they did something to cause that problem.

We use this expression v our friends and also family. That is a small informal but we can also use it in ~ work.

Now, let’s hear 2 friends use these expressions:

So, is Steve coming to the party tonight?



Why? and also why perform you have actually that look on her face?

What look?

Your angry look.

If friend must know -- I have actually a bone come pick v him.

Not again. What is it now?

Well, I’d fairly talk come Steve around it first.

Look, you have the right to take treatment of her bone the contention with Steve some various other time. I don’t desire you two yelling in ~ each other at my party.

What provides you think we’re going come yell?

Because the critical the critical time you had actually a bone come pick with him, it ended in a yelling match.

Oh, right. Well, this time it won’t concerned that. Ns promise. We’ll speak in the kitchen. It’ll be more private.

No, no the kitchen! take up your issue with the in the … garage. It’s much more private and also there are less things because that you come break.


And that is the finish of this Words and also Their Stories! Until next time … ns Anna Matteo.

See more: Lauren Tarsh I Survived 9 11, 2001 By Lauren Tarshis (Paperback)

Do you have something on your mind? perform you have a bone come pick v someone? let us understand in the comment Section!

Anna Matteo wrote this story because that VOA finding out English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.


Words in This Story

fester – v. : to become painful and infected : to become worse together time passes

stew – v. : to be upset or worried

contention – n. something (such together a belief, opinion, or idea) the is argued or stated : anger and disagreement