`ding-dong battle’

The expression `ding-dong’ refers to the sound that a bell makes; the back and forth motion of the knocker hitting a bell.

When you say that two participants were involved in a ding-dong battle, what you mean is that they were involved in a long drawn out battle. The fight was intense and there were times when each participant seemed to have the upper hand in turns. In a ding-dong battle, it is often very difficult to predict who will emerge the winner; sometimes, the result is inconclusive.

Another expression which has more or less the same meaning is `see-saw battle’. When you sit on the see-saw, you are up one moment, and down the other.

Example: *The fans were hoping for a ding-dong battle. They were disappointed when the Aussies thrashed the Indians.

Source: ‘Know Your English’ (The Hindu) –November 06, 2006.


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