I am looking for an expression which would enhance the idea of wrestling. This is a text I am translating from another language (Greek) where the expression (ἀντιπαλαίω στῆθος με στῆθος) means literally "to wrestle against someone chest to chest". The meaning is that this is not just any wrestling, it is very real, physical, you can almost see the two men hitting each other's chests with their own...

The context where it is used goes something like:

The man withdrew to the backyard to wrestle against his enemy ________ (chest to chest?)

Looking up the expression "chest to chest", I received results for chest-on-chest, which is definitely not what I am looking for. The closest result was a word reference thread about the verbal expression to chest to chest someone, but I am sensing it is far too informal for what I need. Besides I am looking for an expression that would enhance the verb "wrestle", not a verb.

I would expect it is a repetitive expression like eye to eye, cheek to cheek. If this particular expression does not exist in English, is there an adverb that could replace it accurately?

  • 2
    Cheek by jowl or cheek to jowl. Idiomatic but not necessarily quite right.
    – Xanne
    May 21 at 19:52
  • 1
    Not exactly what you asked for, but: They went head to head. May 22 at 1:43
  • Are you sure that "ἀντιπαλαίω στῆθος με στῆθος" is the expression of an intensity of the fight rather than a mode, as for instance in "wrestle bare handed" or "wrestle bare chest"? It is not quite logical to announce the intensity of an action of that sort before it begins. In order to know that the fighting is fierce it must have been going on for a little while. You just don't decide that you are going to fight fiercely. One of the fighters might think that he or she will have no mercy (or state this intent), which entails that the fighting will probably be fierce, but it might not be.
    – LPH
    May 22 at 2:57
  • @LPH Your reasoning is very logical and you are right. However, this is a story accounted in the past, and the choice of words belongs to the author who already knows what happened, not to the man fighting.
    – fev
    May 22 at 12:54
  • It seems to me that "to" shows purpose, and so, whether man fighting or author, it wouldn't matter, but there might be a way to look at this preposition differently ; it is possible also that ancient Greek was not always strictly consequential in its formulations.
    – LPH
    May 22 at 13:27


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