Your network of vivid, flesh-tearing phrases can inhibit you from taking risks, prevent you from resolving conflicts, and discourage you from changing. You will take care as a default. Some of your phrases are relatively mild. Others may depict major catastrophes. Can you identify your favorites in this list?

Fighting for his life!
Dealt a fatal blow!
Dead meat!
Dead duck!
Their goose is cooked!
Beat a dead horse!
Death warmed over!
Lethal error!
Life-or-death decisions!
Scared to death!
I’ll just die!
It’s curtains!
The issue is dead!
Dead on arrival!
Dead and buried!
Put another nail in the coffin!
Drop dead date!
Dead wrong!
Deadly accurate!
Dead tired!
Scream bloody murder!
Got away with murder!
It’s murder out there!
Over my dead body!
Buried in their work!
My job is killing me!
Don’t kill the messenger!
Dressed to kill!
Dropping like flies!
Leading the herd to slaughter!
Behaving like lemmings!
Deer in the headlights!
Hounded to death!
Call the dogs off!
Loaded for bear!
Used for cannon fodder!
Claw your way to the top!
Armed to the teeth!
Fought tooth and nail!
Sink your teeth in it!
Gnawing at me!
Blood feud!
Blood bath!
Drew first blood!
Sweating blood!
Blood thirsty!
Lick my wounds!
Rub salt in the wound!
Nurse a wound!
Open old wounds!
Scarred for life!
Gory details!
Pound of flesh!
Bare bones!
Working my fingers to the bone!
Under my skin!
Gut wrenching!
Pure torture!
Pressure cooker!
Let off steam!
Go ballistic!
Fighting mad!
Went through the roof!
Went through the ceiling!
Explosive situation!
Explosive temper!
They exploded!
A blow-up!
Blew their stack!
Blew their top!
Blown away!
Blown to smithereens!
Sitting on a powder keg!
Playing with fire!
Where there’s smoke there’s fire!
Going up in smoke!
Flare up!
Turn up the heat!
Too hot to handle!
Red hot!
Hotter than blazes!
Burned up!
Burned out!
Barn burner!
You’re toast!
Grilled ‘em for answers!
In the hot seat!
A melt-down!
Fire wall!
Breathing fire!
Blistering attack!
Slash and burn!
Crash and burn!
Went out in a blaze of glory!
Going down in flames!
Going down the tubes!
He bombed!
Dropped a bomb shell!
Playing Russian Roulette!
Sweating bullets!
Dodged the bullet!
Both guns blazing!
Under the gun!
Hired gun!
Shoot yourself in the foot!
Shoot first. Ask questions later!
Shoot from the hip!
A shot in the dark!
On the hit list!
In the cross hairs!
A hatchet job!
Got the ax!
Axed the idea!
Bury the hatchet!
Crossed swords!
Take the bull by the horns!
Locked horns!
Turf wars!
Waging an all-out war!
In a mine field!
In the trenches!
There’s a battle shaping up!
Itching for a fight!
Fighting an uphill battle!
Battle plan!
Lead the charge!
Divide and conquer!
Losing the battle!
Came on like gangbusters!
Knock-down, drag-out fight!
No holds barred!
Violently opposed!
Go kicking and screaming!
Take no prisoners!
Suicide mission!
Crushing defeat!
Crushing blow!
Beat to a pulp!
Beat themto the punch
Knock-out punch!
Sock it to me!
Cruisin’ for a bruisin’!
Got a black eye!
Right between the eyes!
An eye for an eye!
Busting’ my chops!
Busting’ my hump!
Took a hit!
Took it on the chin!
Take the gloves off!
Hit ‘em where it hurts!
Hit below the belt!
A low blow!
Hit me like a ton of bricks!
Brow beat!
Slap in the face!
Kick in the pants!
Kick him while he’s down!
Pulled the rug out from under them!
Tripped up!
Fall flat on your face!
Didn’t know what hit him!
Didn’t see it coming!
Flying blind!
Asleep at the wheel!
I was shocked!
A shocking development!
Like a lightening bolt!
A storm is brewing!
Bowled over!
We slaughtered them!
Got creamed!
Run over!
Run-away freight train!
Head over heels!
An accident looking for a place to happen!
Recipe for disaster!
Danger lurks just below the surface!
In harm's way!
Walking the tightrope!
Perilous journey!
Took the bait--hook, line and sinker!
Off the hook!
On pins and needles!
Staring daggers!
Piercing look!
Piercing gaze!
Watch your back!
Stabbed in the back!
Thorn in my side!
Whip into shape!
Crack the whip!
Whipping boy!
Lash out!
Sharp as a tack!
Sharp tongue!
Tongue lashing!
Cat got your tongue?
Come back to bite you!
Verbal thrashing!
Verbal jab!
Pointed comment!
Stinging comment!
Biting commentary!
Cutting remark!
Cut to ribbons!
Cut ‘em down to size!
Cut to the quick!
Cut the umbilical cord!
Personnel cuts!
Slice of life!
Swallowed up!
Nibbled away at it!
Chewed ‘em up and spit ‘em out!
Chewed me out!
They’ll eat us alive!
Jaws of defeat!
Feeding frenzy!
It’s a dog-eat-dog world!
Eat your heart out!
A heart-stopper!
You’ll give me a heart attack!
Broken heart!
Shattered ego!
Knock heads!
Knock your block off!
Like a chicken with its head cut off!
Head on a silver platter!
Bit my head off!
Heads will roll!
Break-neck speed!
Break up!
Breaking point!
Nervous breakdown!
Coming apart at the seams!
Fall apart!
Fall to pieces!
Nipping at your heels!
Picked on!
Picked apart!
On a tear!
Tore me up!
Tore him down!
Torn limb from limb!
Cost me an arm and a leg!
Talked my ear off!
Pulled his hair out!
Fur was flying!
Playing cat and mouse!
Curiosity killed the cat!
Fought like cats and dogs!
Been through the shredder!
Hit the fan!
Sharks are circling for the kill!
Up to my neck in alligators!
Saved my neck!
Saved my buns!
Skating on thin ice!
Come hell or high water!
Opened the flood gates!
The tidal wave hit!
The dam burst!
Drown in sorrow!
Drowning in a sea of . . .
In hot water!
Sink or swim!
Go belly up!
Have a cow!
It’s a jungle out there!
Snake pit!
Venomous attack!
Pretty poison!
Pick your poison!
Festering conflict!
Sick and tired!
Ill-fated decision!
In a tail spin!
Nose dive!
The sky is falling!
Earth shattering
The talks collapsed!
Cliff hanger!
Over the edge!
Way out on a limb!
Dizzying heights!
Hanging on for dear life!
Hanging by a thread!
At the end of his rope!
There’s no safety net!
Run for cover!
There’s no breathing room!
Suffocating relationship!
Strangle hold!
At each other’s throats!
Stuck in my craw!

If your familiar expressions aren’t on this list, e-mail your additions to Wally Wilkins at If your danger-laden phrase are colorful, but not off-color, I’ll add your entries to this evolving list of favorites.

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