bec et ongles*
* beak and nails
In the past
It's used to describe a fierce behaviour, specifically when defending someone's belongings or loved ones, like a mother bird would do for her younglings.
"La vieille dame se fit houspiller de part et d'autre au milieu de la foule pour ses propos. Elle se défendit bec et ongles et avait un contre-argument pour chacun des hurlements qui lui étaient proférés."
"The old lady was being harassed from all sides in the middle of the crowd for what she said. She defended tooth and nail and had a counter-argument for anything one yelled at her."
Submitted July 2020
Confirmed by 12 people