enter the lists


noun (used with a singular or plural verb)

  1. an enclosed arena for a tilting contest.
  2. the barriers enclosing this arena.
  3. any place or scene of combat, competition, controversy, etc.
Idioms
  1. enter the lists, to involve oneself in a conflict or contest: to enter the lists against the protective tariff.

pl n

  1. history
    1. the enclosed field of combat at a tournament
    2. the barriers enclosing the field at a tournament
  2. any arena or scene of conflict, controversy, etc
  3. enter the lists to engage in a conflict, controversy, etc

Also, enter the fray. Engage in a fight or competition, as in He said he’d be willing to enter the lists well before the primaries, or Whenever people disagreed, she was eager to enter the fray. The first term uses the noun lists in the sense of “a barrier around the arena enclosing medieval jousting tournaments” and was being used figuratively by the late 1500s. The variant uses fray in the sense of “a noisy skirmish or battle,” a usage from the late 1300s.

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