In Iraqi Arabic, when someone is bothering you or hassling you continuously and you reach that level where you can't handle it (like when they begin insulting you), you literally say to them (in Arabic) "dude you're really darkening it". The word darkening in Arabic also means they've pushed the limits of the situation and you're about to lose your temper. Example scenario:

  • You scratched my car, you're not just gonna pay for that, I'll give you a beating too!
  • *Man, you're really [insert word] it now. Enough!"

Maybe "pushing it" is the right way to describe this expression. But I'm looking for a single word (if it exists). I was also thinking of "milking it", but this involves swindling and money (in addition to it being two words). Idioms are welcome too.

Addendum: Some nice suggestions. Might I add that the expression does NOT have to involve two people having a go at each other. The expression can also be used to signify your reaction towards something you see on TV (i.e. the news), some altercation you witness, violent protests, etc...

For instance, say an extreme bill is passed in congress (after a moderate one), and you passionately disagree with it because it's so over the top, you would exclaim, "My God, these people are really now [insert word] it".

  • 2
    Cruising for a bruising?
    – user862888
    Commented May 9 at 12:25
  • 8
    "Pushing it" sounds right to me.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 9 at 12:27
  • 1
    Not a word, but phrases 'taking it too far' and 'crossing the line' are most commonly used in my experience.
    – EMS
    Commented May 9 at 12:35
  • 1
    Another idiom is 'playing with fire'.
    – James
    Commented May 9 at 13:07
  • 1
    A single word is too restrictive a goal; I can't think of a suitsable word. I would use "You're pushing your luck".
    – Anton
    Commented May 9 at 21:42

6 Answers 6


Man, you're really asking for trouble now. Enough!

Asking for trouble/it (idiom)

Behaving in a way that is likely to cause problems for you

Ask for it (informal)
To behave in a way that invites punishment or retribution

Ask for trouble (informal)
To behave in a way that is likely to result in trouble


Many possibilities here. One that you could try is overstep the mark.

To go further or do more than one should or is permitted.

I really feel like you overstepped the mark when you started criticizing John's ability as a parent.

overstep the mark

  • I do like this one. Excellent suggestion.
    – E.Groeg
    Commented May 10 at 4:38

On thin ice is an idiom describing a scenario where someone is pushing boundaries to their breaking point. It is usually spoken as a warning by the aggrieved party, informing the line-stepper that they will soon suffer the consequences of their actions if they continue.


Cruising for a bruising.

From the Wiktionary: Following a course of action likely to result in injury or other trouble for oneself.



Phrases include

Sir, you go too far.

You are pushing my buttons (Merriam-Webster)

You are pressing your luck (Merriam-Webster)

  • 1
    Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented May 9 at 19:07

According to the SOED, the verb "to overreact" would be adequate, as the implication "you are going beyond the limit" is clear. With this verb "it" is not needed.

(SOED) overreact Respond more forcibly than is justified, react too strongly.

  • Man, you're really overreacting now. Enough!
  • 1
    This doesn't fit. There is no requirement that a person pushing boundaries is reacting to anything at all; something that isn't even a reaction in the first place certainly can't be an overreaction. Someone goading you into a response isn't overreacting. Commented May 9 at 19:19
  • @NuclearHoagie "Pushing boundaries" is a very general term: you can push the boundaries of anything, genre, fantasy, technological innovation, cruelty, etc. However, here it is clear that the boundaries being "pushed" are those of a reaction, the reaction to someone having damaged one's property. The normal reaction is to ask for compensation, but to envisage to beat the person responsible for the damage is clearly an overreaction, from all points of view, in particular from the legal point of view.
    – LPH
    Commented May 9 at 22:44
  • 1
    Yes, violence is certainly an overreaction in this case. But the OP isn't looking for a word to describe the aggrieved person and what they do in response, they're looking for a word to describe the one who pushes someone else to a response. If someone scratches your car, they are pushing boundaries, and you may overreact by beating them. They are not overreacting (or reacting at all). Commented May 10 at 13:23
  • @NuclearHoagie That is not so: who is saying [insert word] is the person that scratched the car; the person whose car has been scratched is the one pushing their behaviour beyond normal limits. Anyway, if someone scratches your car, even on purpose, you are not going to say that they are pushing the limits.; either it is an accident, and there is really no reason for saying that, or they did it out of meanness and then they are simply considered to have acted criminally.
    – LPH
    Commented May 10 at 13:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.