[ti:I Have a 'Bone to Pick With You']
[00:07.01]Now, the VOA Learning English program Words and Their Stories.
[00:15.90]On this show, we take a closer look at words and expressions in the English language.
[00:23.17]We explain where they come from and how and when to use them.
[00:28.46]There are many times in life when we have disagreements or problems with other people.
[00:35.59]Maybe someone does something or says something that upsets us.
[00:41.21]But, it is best not to let these issues fester.
[00:46.53]When a cut or wound festers, it becomes infected and painful.
[00:53.17]And, "fester" is also used to describe a problem that gets worse.
[00:59.72]If you do not care for that medical image, you can also use the verb stew.
[01:06.43]When we stew over something, we think about it so much that it becomes a big problem for us.
[01:14.46]When we stew over something, we are upset or worried about.
[01:19.94]We do not talk about the problem bothering us.
[01:23.70]We stew over it until it becomes much bigger in our own minds.
[01:30.37]If you stew over an unresolved problem, or let it fester, it can become a big issue.
[01:39.21]You might call it a bone of contention.
[01:43.55]This phrase comes from the 16th-century.
[01:47.25]Imagine, if you will, two dogs fighting over a bone.
[01:52.75]The "bone" is the contentious issue that two people fight over.
[01:58.30]"Contentious" describes something that is likely to cause people to argue or disagree.
[02:05.80]For example, the world of politics has far too many contentious issues to name.
[02:13.09]If I tried, we would be here all day!
[02:16.46]Okay so, unresolved issues often only get worse.
[02:22.24]Talking about them can help.
[02:25.07]But how do you raise the issue?
[02:27.72]Well, you could say to the person, "I have something upsetting to discuss with you
[02:33.85]and it is something that you did and I need to resolve it."
[02:38.40]But that is quite long.
[02:40.82]Thankfully, we do have an expression that means the same thing but has fewer words and is more interesting.
[02:50.78]Instead, you can simply say, "I have a bone to pick with you."
[02:56.30]As with "bone of contention," this phrase also comes from dogs during the 16th century.
[03:04.24]This time the dogs are struggling to pick the meat off of a bone.
[03:09.52]If you use this expression, the other person will understand
[03:15.27]that a) you have a problem on your mind that you want to talk about
[03:19.66]and b) they did something to cause that problem.
[03:24.00]We use this expression with our friends and family.
[03:28.58]It is a little informal but we can also use it at work.
[03:33.36]Now, let's hear two friends use these expressions:
[03:38.56]So, is Steve coming to the party tonight?
[03:45.55]Why? And why do you have that look on your face?
[03:49.06]Your angry look.
[03:50.41]If you must know -- I have a bone to pick with him.
[03:54.52]Not again. What is it now?
[03:56.42]Well, I'd rather talk to Steve about it first.
[03:59.16]Look, you can take care of your bone of contention with Steve some other time.
[04:03.76]I don't want you two yelling at each other at my party.
[04:06.78]What makes you think we're going to yell?
[04:08.59]Because the last the last time you had a bone to pick with him, it ended in a yelling match.
[04:13.19]Oh, right. Well, this time it won't come to that. I promise. We'll talk in the kitchen. It'll be more private.
[04:21.64]No, not the kitchen! Take up your issue with him in the ... garage.
[04:26.31]It's more private and there are less things for you to break.
[04:31.00]And that is the end of this Words and Their Stories!
[04:35.85]Until next time ...
[04:37.13]I'm Anna Matteo.
[04:39.27]]Do you have something on your mind?
[04:41.49]Do you have a bone to pick with someone?
[04:43.95]Let us know in the Comments Section!