The English expression “on the warpath” is commonly used in a metaphorical context and does not, as it may initially appear, relate to a literal war. If you want to find out when to use this expression correctly then keep reading!
The expression is used to denote that a person is determined to cause conflict. It suggests that someone is extremely angry and is going to make this feeling known by the other party.
The expression “warpath” was initially written as two separate words as “war path” but it is now much more common to see it written as a single word.
The expression was first used during the American Civil War but at this time it was used in a more literal sense. One of the first recordings can be found in the 1775 word The History of the American Indians by James Adair. The phrase reads “I often have rode that war path alone.”
The first figurative usage of the expression dates to the year 1880 when Mark Twain wrote “she was on the war path all the evening,” in his work A Tramp Abroad.
An example of this expression in use can be found in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn which reads “clear the road there! I’m on the warpath, and the price of coffins is going to go up when I start killing people!”