IDK if there's already a word that can be used to describe the event/person when someone does something bad to you or anyone else first time, out-of-blue and without provocation and then you had to avenge and/or reciprocate in same/similar manner to truly and rightfully defend yourself.

Like "draw first blood" as in "Girl, I was just trying to make my point but you drew first blood by screaming at me out of nowhere".

But "draw first blood" seems very combat specific and military oriented, is there any similar term/phrase that can be used in friendly/casual/professional environment and situation where just General Public is involved ?

  • Yeah I would say related at the most, because there's this innate thing which differs from just venting your anger, as you see the reasons for drawing first blood could be anything, maybe you have a plan inside your head for long time that when you're gonna lose any argument/debate you just take that weapon of screaming, gender-baised-comments, yelling or hitting out and put it in front to make sure you'd win. It's more like and more frequently a conspiracy of channeling your anger and using it for your ugly benefit, rather than purely just venting it.
    – Vicky Dev
    Jun 10, 2022 at 14:05
  • 1
    If someone has voted for closing this question, they're expected to be decent, courteous, responsible and accountable enough to mention reason for voting for closure in the comments. So the questioner/asker isn't kept in dark deliberately, thanks...
    – Vicky Dev
    Jun 10, 2022 at 14:15
  • 1
    @VickyDev Agreed. The mute downvoter is of the opinion that the answer is a matter of opinion. Why we should respect their own opinion is not clear. The question itself is clear and the likely range of answers is small, and not mere opinion.
    – Anton
    Jun 10, 2022 at 16:17
  • You have not provided a sentence into which this word might fit. That’s sufficient reason for a downvote and a close vote.
    – Xanne
    Jun 10, 2022 at 18:59

3 Answers 3


It sounds like you're trying to identify the instigator, the one who started it, and escalated the situation.


A word that captures part of your intended meaning is to blindside someone. This means to hit or attack someone in an unexpected way, hitting them on their "blind side" where they do not see it coming. It captures several aspects of what you want, including something bad happening, it being an initiating event, and it being out-of-the blue.

It doesn't necessarily mean the attack was completely unprovoked, but it was unexpected at the time it was delivered - the recipient, at least, would not have expected the provocation to come to this. It doesn't address any aspect of retaliation, however, I'm not sure there is any single word that would capture an unprovoked attack and the subsequent response to it.


out of left field

This comes from baseball -- the image is that you were hit by a ball unexpectedly, because the ball came from where you were least expecting it.


X: Oh, man! What was that snide remark the boss made to you about, Anton?

Anton: No idea, dude! It came out of left field!

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