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This Means War!

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Talk about a (lactose) intolerant king.
"Of course you know, this means war!"

Now you've done it.

A declaration that someone has broken the last straw, crossed the Moral Event Horizon, hit the Berserk Button or otherwise gone too far. The people making this declaration will now commit themselves to unleashing every ounce of asskicking they have at you until they get their way, and will not allow anything to stop them.

If the offended party is a Karmic Trickster, expect much Slapstick to follow. The Japanese have a specific cultural sub-trope and Stock Phrase for this: This Is Unforgivable!. May lead to a character exhibiting Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, Let's Get Dangerous! and similar qualities. Compare It's Personal. See also Pretext for War, when the trigger is blown out of proportion to start the war.

You can expect that this declaration will be followed by a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and/or a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Particularly when made by an otherwise peaceful character.

Here is a compilation with a lot of examples of this trope.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk:
  • In A Certain Magical Index Last Order steals Misaka-10032's goggles and taunts her before running off. 10032 loads her submachine gun with (thankfully) rubber bullets and declares it's time for a revolution.
  • Cross Ange: After being publically humiliated, whipped, and nearly hanged in the hometown that once treasured her, and knowing that life as a Norma in Arzenal is a literally thankless dead end, Ange declares that she wants to destroy the entire world. Hilda, who was just rejected by her own mother, is only too happy to oblige.
  • Doraemon: In the American English dub's "The Mecha-Maker", Doraemon exclaims this to Suneo when he discovers that he cheated him out of the yummy buns that he promised to exchange for Doraemon's Mecha-Maker.
  • Attacking a member of Fairy Tail usually results in this trope. Phantom Lord, Grimoire Heart and Tartaros, three of the strongest guilds in Ishgar, were ultimately destroyed for making this mistake.
  • The homunculi of Fullmetal Alchemist caused major problems for themselves because of this trope. Before Maes Hughes' death, Mustang knew pretty much nothing about the homunculi and consequently was not involved in trying to stop their evil schemes. The moment one of them killed Hughes, he quietly went into a sort of chronic Heroic BSoD mode and became such a danger to them that Lust finally decided he wasn't worth it as a sacrifice and simply tried to kill him.
  • In Gintama, Utsuro succesfully invokes this by engineering the destruction of several planets through the destabilization of their Altana Gates. Those who survived blamed the Tendoshuu, amassed a fleet of space ships, branded themselves as the Altana Liberation Army, and invaded and occupied the Earth in order to find the Tendoshuu and exact their vengeance. All according to Utsuro's plan to ultimately destroy the Earth.
  • GTO: The Early Years: Thanks to Eikichi's overzealous underlings picking fights with the Enoshima High gang, Nakajo and his people come to fight the Oni-Baku. The point of no return at which Nakajo actually declares war is right after Eikichi accidentally blows up his car.
  • Volume 3 of Hellsing has Millenium essentially declare war on Hellsing when they openly send one of their operatives, backed up by troops from the local law enforcement, to attack Alucard and Seras, live on national television no less. Just in case they didn't get the message, Volume 4 has them send a messenger to Hellsing headquarters with a live link to the Major, so that he can pretty much say "Let's fight!".
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • In Part 2 (Battle Tendency), the vampire Straizo claims to have killed Robert E.O. Speedwagon. Joseph Joestar, who viewed Speedwagon as an uncle, responds by pulling a Tommy gun out of Hammerspace, giving the blood-sucker several dozen new orifices, and then issuing a declaration of war. Appropriately enough, Joseph is a Guile Hero who's occasionally been referred to as Japan's answer to Bugs Bunny.
    • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, Joseph has a super move which re-creates this scene; its name is, of course, the same as this trope's.
  • In Naruto, Tobi declares war on the entire ninja world after the Kages' refusal to hand over Naruto and Bee, starting the fourth great ninja war.
  • One Piece:
    • Luffy and the crew (mostly Sogeking) declare war on the World Government by not only shooting the Government Flag, but burning it as well. As it stands atop a major governmental base. Being watched by hundreds of marines. All to send a message to Robin that they would never abandon her.
    • When the newspapers report that the World Government has chosen to publicly execute Portgas D. Ace, a Mass "Oh, Crap!" ensues. Ace's captain, Whitebeard, is infamous for avenging his crew mates, and "Red Flag" X. Drake realizes that the Government's decision is effectively declaring war on the most powerful pirate alive.
    • Later, Admiral Kizaru is fighting with four of the most powerful rookie pirates in the world. He's clearly toying with them, but doesn't go for the finishing blow. Then one of them hits him with a surprise attack that cuts him in half and blows the pieces to smithereens. After he pulls himself back together, he's clearly had enough. He then declares the fight is over and dispatches them all in a matter of seconds.
    • In Punk Hazard, Luffy forms an alliance with Trafalgar Law of the Heart Pirates, who has a plan to take down one of the Four Emperors. Said plan involves kidnapping the island's resident Mad Scientist, Caesar Clown. Luffy being Luffy, he doesn't take the job particularly seriously at first, but after he learns from a third party that the children Caesar has been experimenting on will die in a few years, he decides to ditch the "kidnapping" part and replace it with "break every bone in Caesar's body".
      • In an attempt to scare Luffy away, Caesar explains to him that he's not only being backed by Donquixote Doflamingo, one of the Seven Warlords and the biggest broker in the criminal underworld, but that he also has ties to the Four Emperors through him, and that moving against Caesar means picking a fight with all of them at the same time, essentially invoking this trope. Luffy's response is succinct: he breaks Caesar's face in a single punch.
    • Luffy has now declared war on one of the Four Emperors, Big Mom.
    • In the Wano Arc, when the raid on Onigashima begins in full, Luffy declares his intention to take down both Kaido, Big Mom and Orochi.
    • The destruction of Ohara via Buster Call is revealed to have been this for Dragon, who became disgusted that the World Government would take such extreme measures against a bunch of archaeologists who simply wanted to learn the true history of the Void Century. He went on to found the Revolutionary Army months later with the express purpose of declaring war against the World Government.
  • Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World: Alice says this word for word upon seeing Sisbell acting lovey-dovey with Iska while spying on them.
  • Overlord:
  • Read or Die: The leader of the I-jin has revealed himself, announced his Apocalypse How and revealed Nancy is Mata Hari and spying for them. In response, Gentleman informs Joker over the PA that Operation Manuscript Retrieval is suspended...
    Joker: British Library Special Engineer Force, suspend Operation Manuscript Retrieval immediately. As of now, we begin "Operation Exterminate I-Jin Corps!" (cheers)

  • The Bayeux Tapestry: William feels that Harold's coronation as King of England is a betrayal and decides to invade England as a result.

    Comic Books 
  • Played for drama in the Astro City story "Serpent's Teeth", when an alternate-timeline version of Jack-in-the-Box's son uses Jack's "Of course you realize, this means war" as motivation to become a Knight Templar on the city's criminals... without realizing Jack was quoting Bugs Bunny.
  • In The Smurfs comic book story "The Smurf Threat", the Grey Smurfs send an Arrowgram to the Smurfs, warning them to surrender Hefty or else. Papa Smurf refuses to turn over Hefty to the Grey Smurfs, and the next Arrowgram reads something to the effect of "this means war" — with the next thing the Smurfs see is the Grey Smurfs surrounding the village.
  • In the Supergirl/Green Lantern crossover Red Daughter of Krypton, when Atrocitus ravages planet Ysmault, poisons the Blood Lake, defaces their statues and destroys the Red Power Battery, Guy Gardner and his Red Lanterns know he has declared war on them.
  • In the second story-arc of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW), Rainbow Dash jokingly says this to Pinkie Pie at the slumber party when the latter initiates a pillow fight.

    Fan Works 
  • In This Bites!, listening to the horror happening on the secret island has virtually every superpower in the world, from Whitebeard, to Ace, to Dragon, gunning to sink the island into the sea, with the Marines planning on sending every Buster Call they have to make sure. And even that pales in the face of Garp's rage.
  • In How the Light Gets In this retroactively mused on. A recently resurrected Laurel isn't very surprised to learn that Dean hunted down, tortured, and killed her murderer in revenge.
    "You can't murder a Winchester, leave the other ones standing, and have the audacity to expect to live. Do you know what Winchesters consider the murder of a family member? An act of war."
  • Old West:
    • After Rattlesnake Jake is injured by some traitorous members of his Gunslinger Court, he's told that their head Irvin Worst is trying to steal his leadership position and Ramirez Arvenga is trying to gain membership once again now that Jake's out of the way. Incensed, Jake orders his loyalists to prepare themselves in a week as he waits for his recovery to have a bloody vengeance.
    • For most of the story, Dufayel tries to legally have the heroes leave their homes above a gold deposit, but when the deadline he fears for (bankruptcy) finally comes, he casts aside all the hampers and orders his hirelings to drive the heroes away violently if need be.
      Dufayel: Assez! I will no longer be patient. C'est la guerre — It is war!
    • When Dufayel makes the mistake of taking Grace and Teddy hostage, Jake makes his intentions clear with a line that's borrowed from True Grit.
      Jake: Them boys are gonna have to think of the wrath that's about to set down on 'em...
  • In Episode 5 of Final Stand of Death has this exchange near the ends after finding a suitable location for a match against Marilyn Manson. This gets lampshaded.
    Hornet: I mean it, THIS MEANS WAR!
    Hawk: Geri, We're already in one. [she looks at Spur and Redd] And, I know that was the both of lots.
  • The Death God Alliance has these words from Hades when his son goes missing and the House of Life is to blame.
    Hades: There will be blood!
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Lampshaded in so many words by Bolt in “The Cakes” after Mittens drops one of the title pastries on his head.
    Bolt: [growling] Of course, you realize that this outrage will not go unavenged!
  • J-WITCH Series: After Will frees Jade of Tarakudo's corruption, Irma, Taranee, Cornelia and Hay Lin state to Tarakudo, Phobos, Cedric and Wong that what they did to their friend gave them more reason than ever to fight them — right before they give the latter three a big taste of elemental magic.
    Cornelia: Taking Elyon away because she was your sister was one thing…
    Hay Lin: But what you all tried to do to Jade…!
    Taranee: You just made this all the more personal!
    Irma: You jerkwads want a war?! You got one!
  • A Thing of Vikings: When King Harthacnut finds out that King Magnus has allied himself with Berk through Altar Diplomacy, he uses this and the fact Dragon Riders from Berk attacked one of his strongholds as a Pretext for War, having possessed a predisposed hatred for Magnus since Norway used to be a part of his family's territory and has not acted upon them due to a treaty between their kingdoms.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Duck Soup and the Marx Brothers used this as a Catchphrase well before Looney Tunes did. They even made a song out of it.
  • In Chuck Norris movies, they'd abuse his woman, destroy his truck, and kick his dog... but when they messed with his hat, "Oh, it's on."
  • Serenity: "So no more running. I aim to misbehave."
  • Wrong is Right (1982). The US president uses this reason to invade the Middle East after two suitcase nukes are found in New York City (in the World Trade Centre, no less). However, the film is a parody of Patriotic Fervor and Eagleland so this is just a Pretext for War; it's revealed the real nukes never left the dictator's country as he had no intention of using them.
    Hale: I thought for a while, the CIA had... 'arranged' the suitcases. Like King Awad's suicide.
    Philindros: Mr. Hale, we only try to do what's right.
    Hale: Even when it's wrong?
    Philindros: If it's good for America, it can't be wrong. Right?
    Hale: What's next?
    [Answer Cut to Oval Office press conference]
    President Lockwood: War!
  • The trope as used in the Looney Tunes cartoons is referenced in Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Daffy Duck says the exact phrase when Donald Duck drops a piano lid on his head during their duet duel.
  • Johnny Dangerously
    Roman Moroni: This is fargin war!
  • Layla, one of the characters in the superhero film Sky High (2005), won't use her powers except in self-defense, which means she gets relegated to the Sidekick track, constantly teased, and thought of as a complete wimp. Then one of the bad guys, convinced that their side is about to be victorious and not being able to resist, slaps her. "Big. Mistake."
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade has a doozy from Lord Raglan, describing the outbreak of The Crimean War. Intended In-Universe as a Rousing Speech to his staff, it plays as a paranoid rant:
    "This means war, gentlemen! Our passage to India is threatened, I should think, wouldn't you? The honour, the reputation, the glory of England is threatened. Our Queen's Majesty is sure to be threatened, she is... If the Turks go down like cards, flip-flop, then next up our own Solent, against our own Queen will come the Russians - ships and guns to rip our country into shame.
  • One of the gangsters in When Darkness Falls says this word for word after they got thrown out of Aram's restaurant.
  • Captain America: Civil War:
    Steve Rogers: This doesn't have to end in a fight, Tony.
    Tony Stark: You just started a war!
  • In King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Arthur has no interest in being king despite being the rightful heir and finding out that Vortigern had murdered his parents. But then Vortigern murdered Arthur's adopted mother and his best friend.
    Arthur: I'm going to kill him.
  • Attempted then subverted at the end of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. King Arthur assembles an army of people to attack the castle where the French soldiers are presumably housing the Grail. The attack never goes through as the police arrest Arthur and Bedevere for the murder of a historian earlier in the movie and disperse everyone else. Arthur's pre-attack speech:
    French persons! Today the blood of many a knight shall be avenged. In the name of God, we shall not stop until each one of you lies dead and the Holy Grail returns to those whom God has chosen. CHAAAAAARGE!!!
  • In Small Soldiers, when the Elite Commandos send Alan the video message with Christy hostage, he states "If Commander Hazard wants war, he'll have war".

  • The novel Point of Impact, made into a movie called Shooter, had Bob Lee Swagger get upset when they framed him for trying to kill the President and tried to kill him. But he really declared war when they killed his dog!
  • The Dresden Files
    • Dead Beat. After finishing the job he was forced into by the Black Court Vampire Mavra when she blackmailed Murphy, Harry said this and threatened that if she ever went after Murphy or any other of his friends again he would take up every weapon he has to his potential and go after her and kill her.
    • Fast forward to Changes: when his daughter, whom he didn't know about, was kidnapped by the Red Court, he showed that he hadn't been kidding with the above threat. He took up every weapon he had, including becoming the Winter Knight. The only ones he didn't pick up was the Darkhollow and the Denarius and he would have if it would have been necessary. When the dust had settled the Red Court was no more
    • Happens a couple other times too. Molly getting dragged into Arctis Tor, the Nickelheads kidnapping Ivy, one side story when Michael's daughter is nearly killed, Bianca after Susan was turned... Let's face it. If you truly piss off Harry, stick you head between your knees and kiss your sorry ass goodbye.
    • Also the Jerkass that dared to try and hit Mouse with a truck. Moral of the story kids? Never mess with Harry's True Companions.
  • Anneof Green Gables: Though not in the literal sense, Anne Shirley, declares war on Gilbert Blythe after he teases her for her red hair by calling her "Carrots". She becomes his academic rival, and vows that she will always beat him and never forgive him. She eventually does forgive him, and goes one step further by marrying him.
  • In the appendices to The Lord of the Rings, the section Of The Dwarves recounts how Thorin's grandfather went to Moria and was caught by orcs, who threw out his head with a purse of small coins stuffed in the mouth. The purse was taken to the Dwarf-king Nain who regarded it in silence for six days, until on the seventh day he said "This cannot be borne". The dwarves suffered horribly in the years that followed, but the orcs of the Misty Mountains took a hiding.
  • In Roman mythology an Etruscan Royal Brat decided it would be a good idea to rape a respectable Roman woman named Lucretia. Naturally this meant war. With Rome. As in the future most famous millitary power in civilization.
  • In Mission of Honor, an entire treecat clan is wiped out during Oyster Bay. In A Rising Thunder it turns out that one member of the clan was visiting a neighboring clan and survived... and now the treecats have declared war on Mesa. For the uninitiated, a treecat is a telepathic, six-limbed, furry buzzsaw of DOOM.
    • This is actually their general response to a threat. Treecats divide their enemies into two categories: those who have been dealt with and those who are still alive.
  • Fattypuffs & Thinifers:
    At that moment a soldier entered bearing a message from President Rugifer. It said that the proposal which he had sent by his secretary was the last he would make, that it was an ultimatum, that he gave the Fattypuffs ten minutes to accept it and that he had ordered his train and would leave immediately if his wishes were not complied with.
    "This means war!" said Marshal Puff in despair.
    "C'est la guerre!" repeated Professor Ramfatty with satisfaction.
  • In the novel Les Liaisons dangereuses, the Marquise de Merteuil replies to a letter from her unfaithful lover, the Vicomte de Valmont, in just four words: Hé bien! la guerre (Very well, it's war!). She then gets a rival to kill him in a duel.
  • In The Oncoming Storm, the Theocracy opens its war with the Commonwealth with a series of bombings of civilian targets by sleeper agents on Tyre, to coincide with their invasion of outer Commonwealth systems. King Hadrian is elementally enraged, and only becomes more so when the Theocratic ambassador issues a surrender demand.
    "You are correct on one point. There will be no negotiation.
    "You have mounted an unprovoked war against my people, commencing with a series of cowardly terrorist attacks that have left upwards of nine thousand
    civilians dead. Your... pathetic attempt to give us a declaration of war, too late for us to put our forces on alert, is only the icing on the cake. There will be no further negotiation—and no negotiated peace. The Commonwealth will fight until the Theocracy has been crushed, Ambassador, and it will be crushed.
    "Your people want freedom. We will give it to them. Your conquests want independence. We will give it to them. Your sons want the right to learn more than how to recite your prayers by rote. We will give it to them. Your wives and daughters want the right to make their own choices. We will give it to them. And the entire galaxy wants to sleep peacefully, without fearing conquest by you. We will give it to them.
    "I promise you nothing, but war to the knife. And the next time we meet, it will be when I take your surrender in the ruins of your homeworld."
  • In Fire & Blood, the civil war between two factions of House Targaryen known as the Dance of Dragons was kicked off when Prince Aemond Targaryen murdered Prince Lucerys Velaryon, son of Rhaenyra Targaryen, one of the two claimants for the Iron Throne, in cold blood, despite the fact Lucerys had been an unarmed envoy at the time. Lucerys's enraged stepfather, Daemon Targaryen, arranged the assassination of one of King Aegon II's sons in retaliation, turning what had been a dynastic squabble in a mutual war of annihilation that lead to the decline of House Targaryen's hold to the Seven Kingdoms.
  • Said by Elizabeth in a Sweet Valley Twins book after she hears that Jessica has been bad-mouthing her. She actually doesn't do anything particularly bad to her, they just give each other the Silent Treatment.
  • Threatened but thankfully averted in Iron Kissed. When one of the fae lords threatens Mercy, Samuel (son of the ruler of the North American werewolves) informs them that "For Mercy, Dad would declare open war on the fae and damned be the consequences."
  • Monster of the Year: The Count is the one to say it after Myrna Smud's motivations are revealed while they're in Michael's living room, watching her on TV:
    TV interviewer: "Just what is it about the monsters that bothers you so much, Mrs. Smud?"
    Myrna Smud: "They overstimulate children's imaginations. This causes them to think too much, which is not healthy at a young age."
    Everyone in the room looks at one another in astonishment, except for...
    The Count (rises, trembling with anger): "This, means var!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: Throughout Season 1, Kate Lockley, initially Angel's Friend on the Force, finds herself unable to cope with discovering the existence of vampires and demons, and this spirals into hatred of all supernatural creatures, especially vampires, when her father is killed by them, taking her anger and inability to cope with her inability to cope with the Broken Masquerade on Angel. This climaxes in "To Shanshu in L.A.", when she stops him after Wolfram & Hart blow up his office and land Wesley in the hospital, and starts sniping at him again when he refuses to remain behind for questioning. With both Cordelia and Wesley in the hospital, Angel is in absolutely no mood to put up with Kate's bitchiness and informs her as such, telling her that if she really wants to be his enemy, he's happy to oblige.
  • Subverted in Buffy the Vampire Slayer when the Watchers Council decides to mobilise and head to Sunnydale to take on the First Evil directly. As you'd expect of an organisation of British Badass Bookworms, there is an appropriate quote: "Proverbs 24:6. O, by wise council, you shall make your war." Seconds later a bomb kills everyone in the room.
  • Played for Laughs in one episode of El Chavo del ocho. After becoming victim of the kids' antics one too many times, Don Ramón (mockingly) declares war on "all brats in the world". During the rest of the episode, Quico and el Chavo become freaked out because they see Don Ramón carrying a shotgun (that actually doesn't work, but they don't know that) thinking he's out to shoot them.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The 10th Doctor in "The Idiot's Lantern".
      The Doctor: The street. They left her in the street. They took her face, and just chucked her out and left her in the street. And as a result, that makes things... simple. Very very simple. Do you know why?
      Inspector Bishop: No.
      The Doctor: Because now, Detective Inspector Bishop, there is no power on this earth that can stop me!
    • This a trait that all Doctors can show pieces of. Although they rarely use the word 'war', if you hurt anyone close to them, anyone they love, you will pay.
    • Played straight as an arrow in the appropriately-titled Series Six midseason cliffhanger "A Good Man Goes to War".
    • The title doesn't just describe the Doctor, but also Rory. After the Silence kidnapped Amy and his unborn baby, Rory immediately goes on the war-path, even going so far as to storm through a Cyberman warship and scaring the crap out of them for information.
    • Defied in the episode, "Doomsday":
      Cyberman: Daleks, be warned. You have declared war upon the Cybermen.
      Dalek Sec: This is not war! THIS IS PEST CONTROL!
  • Good Eats:
    • Host Alton Brown, in response to one of the Mad French Chef's declarations, said to the camera, "I hope he knows, this means war!" in a fake French accent.
    • He also declares war on a cupcake shop that's run like a fancy restaurant, complete with a maitre'd taking reservations out front, saying that they're sucking all the joy out of cupcakes.
  • Played with on Supernatural, when Dean tells Rufus, "It's war, you hear me? It's war!" The latter replies with, "You're damn right it is," before punching Dean in the face, not realizing that he actually meant War.
  • Frasier: When Frasier's show is supplanted by Dr. Nora, who tends to slut-shame callers to her show as a start, Frasier tries to make an olive branch, which Nora rejects, causing Frasier to use this phrase. Meanwhile, Roz holds out a few seconds longer, when she finds out Nora's assistant shares her beliefs.
    Roz: You don't really believe in this "no sex before marriage" stuff, do you?
    Producer: Sure do.
    Roz: Well, it's WAR!
  • In Gossip Girl's fourth season Chuck declares war on Blair after she drives Eva away, though one might wonder where he feels entitled to declare war over something like that after he sold Blair for a hotel and slept with her nemesis in the previous season. Chuck and Blair are then at war for a few episodes until Nate and Serena sit them down and write an actual legally binding peace treaty. These kids sure do take things seriously...
  • On Boy Meets World, Rachel actually says these words after she fails to get Cory and Shawn in trouble for a prank they pulled on her. This leads to an Escalating War.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003). This quote is often used in trailers, fan-made or otherwise.
    Commander William Adama: This is the Commander. Moments ago, this ship received word of a Cylon attack against our homeworlds is under way. We do not know the size or the disposition or the strength of the enemy forces, but all indications point to a massive assault against Colonial defenses. Admiral Nagala has taken personal command of the Fleet aboard the battlestar Atlantia following the complete destruction of Picon Fleet Headquarters in the first wave of the attacks. "How? Why?" doesn't really matter now. What does matter is that as of this moment, we are at war. You've trained for this. You're ready for this. Stand to your duties, trust your fellow shipmates, and we'll all get through this. Further updates as we get them. Thank you.
  • In the pilot of Star Trek: Voyager, the Kazon-Ogla make clear that they are not happy with Capt. Janeway destroying the Caretaker's space station, which not only keeps Voyager in the Delta Quadrant but also prevents the Kazon from using its power to bully the Ocampa. This would result in the Kazon being the primary Arc Villains for the first two seasons, which their leader marks with a nicely unstated version of this trope.
    Maje Jabin: You have made an enemy today. (screen off)
  • In Zoey 101, Zoey tries to avoid retaliation by the girls during the guys' Prank Week. Until she gets soaked by an extra-large water balloon:
    ''Allright. This. Means. War.
  • In Babylon 5, after breaking away from Earth due to the unconstitutional and tyrannical rule of President William Morgan Clark, Babylon 5 essentially enters a cold war period with Earth that lasts through the second half of Season 3 and the first half of Season 4, until President Clark begins ordering ships to shoot on defenseless civilian and medical transports resulting in the murder of over 10,000 people. Captain Sheridan immediately declares that this is the last straw, and begins an offensive to liberate Earth.
    Captain John Sheridan: Captain's personal log. September 2nd, 2261. Enough is enough!
  • Occurs on an episode of Law & Order, about a person training children as anti-Terrorist Terrorists.
  • Westworld. William is reluctant to get involved with the war-mad general who leads the Confederados. The general then finds out that the bottles of nitro-glycerine William sold them has been swapped for tequila.
    General: I thought you had no appetite for war, boy. This... [smashes bottle] is a declaration of war.
  • In the conclusion of the episode "Esteban" of The Blacklist, Reddington's posture and expression say it all when his adversary absconds yet again with one most dear to him. This is accompanied by this song.
  • Lucifer: After Maze throws out a water polo hunk that the high-as-a-kite Linda was making out with:
    Linda: Hey, I liked that guy! He smelled like chlorine and butterscotch fudge. I am five feet of nothing but coiled live wire, Maze. This. Means. War!
  • Arrow. Huntress gets the Mafia and Triads fighting each other by killing a Triad boss in apparent retaliation for the hits she's actually been doing herself. We then see Oliver Queen discovering the dead boss and placing a call to his friend Diggle.
    Diggle: It's Dig. What's the situation?
    Oliver: War.
  • Averted in Phoenix. After a car bomb goes off killing a detective and burning alive a policewoman, the Inspector in charge of the investigation has to hold a press conference and is told to avert any suggestion that the police are going to war on whoever is responsible.
  • House of the Dragon: Implied Trope in "The Black Queen". For much of the episode Rhaenyra is hesitant to go to war against her half-brothers, and even when she decides to, doesn't want the first blow to come from her side. But then one of them inadvertently kills her son Luke. We don't hear any dialogue when she is told of this during the season's final scene, but the fury in her gaze after she turns to the camera tells the audience that she'll seriously start coming for the Greens now.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: When Galadriel comes to queen Miriel to apologize for dragging Numenor in her war with the Orcs, Miriel asks Galadriel to save her pity for their enemies, and swears to return to Middle Earth to take revenge on the Orcs for the loses and humiliation Numenor suffered in the Southlands.

  • (həd) p.e.'s song "War" begins with this line.
  • Ill Niño's song "This Is War".
  • Attack Attack! (the US band) released an album in 2012 titled "This Means War."
  • Petra's 1987 album and single, "This Means War!"
  • Avenged Sevenfold released a song on the Hail To The King-album, entitled "This Means War".
  • British band Losers' "This Is A War"

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Nomine: The worst of all possible occurrences is the Archangel Novalis responding to something you've done with a frown and the quietly uttered phrase "Oh dear". Because when you get to the point where the Archangel of Flowers, heavenly incarnation of peace, love and forgiveness, decides that something has to be done about you, then you have really messed up. Novalis's followers are forbidden from engaging in unnecessary violence. She also has a subordinate Malakim — one of Heaven's mightiest warriors — who is the Angel of Necessary Violence. It can come as a great surprise when a known Angel of Flowers suddenly, with absolute surety, goes for the throat.
  • In Traveller, the titular Travellers make sure to not do anything that louses up the Imperium's internal economic and political cohesion. Small wars between sub-states are ok; after all boys will be boys. But if you extend your war too far and bother your neighbors, use Weapons of Mass Destruction or otherwise become too much of a trouble then you will receive a visit from the Space Marines.
  • In Shadowrun, a Fatwa was issued in Tehran against metahumans and the Awakened. In response, the Great Dragon Aden went there and made the declaration "if you desire war, then see what you would make war against!" He then proceeded to destroy the city. Personally.

  • In Of Thee I Sing, the French Ambassador is just declaring war on the United States on the grounds of President Wintergreen's refusal to marry Diana Deveraux, when Vice-President Throttlebottom invokes a Constitutional article to assume the President's obligations and marry her himself.

    Theme Parks 
  • In It's Tough to be a Bug at the Disney Theme Parks, Hopper crashes Flik's presentation and states to the human audience how much he hates them for the way they've mass-murdered bugs and portrayed them as monsters, as well as declaring that he won't put up with humans any longer. He then exclaims, "THIS. MEANS. WAR!", before sending his army of bugs onto the audience.

    Video Games 
  • In AdventureQuest Worlds, Nulgath declares war on his former apprentice, Dage the Lich (who would later rename himself Dage the Evil) after the latter has betrayed the Nulgath Nation, started making his own army (later known as the Undead Legion), and slain the Commandant who was loyal to the former and converted his soul to his cause.
  • In Dragon Age II, Meredith's decision to issue the right of annulment on the Kirkwall Circle, despite having nothing to do with Anders' destruction of the Chantry causes the Mages in Kirkwall to finally have enough, with their rebellion either supported or quashed by Hawke. The events at Kirkwall later ripple across the face of Thedas and lead to other Circles rising up as a result, leading to the outbreak of open war, three years later.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV the Warrior of Light's story is filled with enough trauma to send most people over the deep end 10 times over (and it's noted at various points) but the Warrior of Light becomes notably upset and enraged upon the death of Haurchefaunt, one of their closest friends, who dies to protect them. The responses the player can choose during cutscenes start to become noticeably more violent and angry in tone after this, calling for the killer's heart.
  • God of War:
  • Subverted in The Godfather game. Shopkeepers and racket bosses will fight back if you apply too much pressure on them and you won't be able to get a payout from them... but since your pressure-application would probably have involved hitting them, shooting them, harming or killing innocents, all this does is mark them as Too Dumb to Live. Sure, you'll need to come back in a week's in-game time to try again should you kill them, but really, they knew what would ensue...
  • "Hey, Kirby! This means war! If you can stack this many *'s, you win!"
  • Played for Laughs in the Mass Effect 3 Citadel DLC: By this stage a lot has been done to Shepard, and the plot is someone is trying to kill her/him, a Cerberus clone. S/he brushes off numerous insults, Kick the Dog moments and attempts on her/his life until the clone tries to dispose of Shepard's pet space hamster. S/he reacts the same as s/he does in regards to Batarian slavers, finding David Archer, and the renegade resolution to Tali's trial. Combined.
    Shepard: They messed with my hamster, guys. Now it's personal.
  • No More Heroes:
    • Travis Touchdown, in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, declares this after his best friend is murdered by hitmen who happen to be on the payroll of the number 1-ranked assassin.
    Travis: This isn't a battle anymore. It's a motherfucking war!
    • Early on in No More Heroes III, Travis loses it and declares his intent to kill FU after the alien warlord murders Badman.
  • This is one of the things the Paperboy might say if he loses a life.
    "You realize of course, this means war."
  • In Saints Row: The Third, Monica Hughes almost says this (her exact words are "this is war") when Killbane has the Hughes bridge destroyed.
  • In the Sam & Max: Freelance Police game Abe Lincoln Must Die!, The Soda Poppers, a triplet of Former Child Stars, have become governors of Dakota. You are supposed to rile up their latent Sibling Rivalry until:
    Specs: Of course you realise. This means war!
    Peepers: WAR!
    Whizzer: WAR!
  • In World of Warcraft, King Varian after the Wrathgate incident, and the subsequent Battle for the Undercity.
  • In Yakuza 0, Makoto getting shot by the Dojima Family is this to Majima, who later goes on a one-man Roaring Rampage of Revenge throughout Dojima HQ.
    Majima: I'm takin' every last one of you... straight to the pits of Hell. NOBODY LEAVES ALIVE!!


  • RPC Authority: The Chirch of Malthus for many reasons, mostly interfearance with their missions, so much so that the first line of the Malthusian Manifesto is:
    WE the Church of Malthus, Arbiters of Population, the Future of Humanity, do hereby proclaim: i. An immediate state of Justified and Total WAR against the "RPC Authority."

    Web Videos 
  • At the climax of The Cartoon Man, Simon pushes Roy a bit too far, causing him to say the line, "You do realize of course that this means war!" and begin an over-the-top Looney Tunes-style cartoon battle.
  • In the DEATH BATTLE! spinoff, DBX has this be the opening line of the fight between Daffy and Donald Duck. Naturally, it's Daffy who says the line after Donald shoots him with his Shotgun.
    Daffy: I hope you know that this means war.

    Western Animation 
  • Looney Tunes:
    • A traditional Bugs Bunny Catchphrase ("Of course you realise, dis means war!") — any time Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam or some other buffoon maroon harasses him to this point.
      • In Space Jam: A New Legacy, Al G. Rhythm introduces himself to the Tunes via trashing their world, mocking their designs, and forcing a 3D upgrade on them against their will. By the time he's done, he's the focus of all their attention for the wrong reasons, and Bugs is practically livid over it all.
      Bugs: Al G... this means war!
    • Foghorn Leghorn made that same declaration after he was cocooned in his lovely beach umbrella by his eternal nemesis the Barnyard Dog ("of course you know, this means war").
    • In one Elmer Fudd short, an ant says this after Elmer harassed some ants with firecrackers.
    • In the Porky Pig and Daffy Duck short Boobs in the Woods, Daffy declares this after pretending to be Pocahontas and "mistaking" Porky for "Cap'n John Smiff".
    Daffy: So you decided to love 'im and leave 'im, eh? This means war! (whoops like an American Indian)
    Porky: Ah, shaddap!
  • Bugs Bunny's Tiny Toon Adventures counterpart Buster Bunny would say "It's time to party - Buster-style!" in the same kind of situation that would prompt Bugs declaring war on whoever's provoked his ire.
  • Animaniacs:
    • The episode "King Yakko" has the bad guy say "this means war" when his first attempt to take over Anvilania fails. However, he was holding his hands over his head when he said it, leading to Yakko's rejoinder:
      Yakko: I thought that meant "touchdown".
    • Slappy Squirrel (who is a clear expy of the likes of Screwy Squirrel, Bugs Bunny and the many other characters who embodied this trope in the golden age of animation) will make your life hell if you cross her, even if it's just for petty issues. Just ask the neighbor she drove to insanity because said neighbor wouldn't let her throw away a soda can in her trash.
      Slappy: If I was a better person, I'd ignore this and move on with my life. But I'm not!
    • In the segment "O Silly Mio", Yakko, Wakko, and Dot are pushed far when an opera singer constantly ignores their request to tone her voice down. Bonus points for the pun.
      Yakko: Of course you realize, this means Warners.
  • Duck Dodgers: One two-parter was actually called "Of Course You Know, This Means War and Peace". It was mostly war, though, with the peace treaty being a trick for the villain General Z-9 to get access to codes to Earth's defences and invade the planet. The quote "This Means War!" was said by the Martian Queen early in part one.
  • In some old Disney toons, Donald Duck would utter "That's the last straw!" before getting medieval on the ass of whoever dared to push his Berserk Button way too much.
  • Family Guy:
    • In one episode, Lois gets splashed on by a car driven by her rival, who constantly beats her for the award for best piano student. Needless to say, This Means War.
    • In another episode, a bomb blows up in Meg's face, which leads to her suddenly having a duck bill backwards on her head... exactly like what happens to Daffy Duck in Looney Tunes. She then says, "Of course you realize, this means war!".
    • Brian in "Halloween on Spooner Street", when he tried to reason with the bullies who took Stewie's candy, only for them to dye his fur pink.
  • In DuckTales (1987), Fenton Crackshell (prior to his becoming Gizmoduck) declares to the Beagle Boys, "Of course you realize, this means . . . a skirmish."
  • Tarantulas mutters it in an episode of Beast Wars, after Blackarachnia turns on him (again).
  • During one of the "Spacecataz" segments, Oglethorpe and Emory have the following discussion after the Mooninites expose themselves at them:
    Emory: Hey, maybe we should just back off. I mean, this is how fight starts.
    Oglethorpe: This is not a fight... THIS IS A WAR!
  • Popeye in the face of abuse, he would finally roar, "That's all I can stands, cuz I can't stands no more!" He then knocks back a handy can full of spinach and the punches fly.
  • Non-humorous example on Gargoyles. When Xanatos turns Derek into a mutate, Elisa tells him that it's war now, and that she won't give up until she gets him back for it. It escalates to the point where when Fox turns into a werefox, Xanatos has to beg Elisa for help, and even then Goliath had to talk it over with her in private before she'd do it.
  • In The Smurfs episode "All's Smurfy That Ends Smurfy", the fairy Prince Garth declares war on the Smurfs for supposedly stealing their gold, which turns out to be the work of Gargamel.
  • Used somewhat frequently in SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • The episode "The Battle of Bikini Bottom" revolves around SpongeBob and Patrick having a "war" over cleanliness and dirtiness.
    • In "The Krusty Plate" Spongebob is instructed to wash a plate and the following scene ensues.
      [washes the plate but the spot is still on there]
      SpongeBob: You're a tough little guy, aren't ya?
      [tries to clean it some more but it's not coming off]
      SpongeBob: This means war!
  • In The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, Kootie Pie, upset at being insulted by Bully, yells this before starting a garbage fight.
  • Variations of this phrase (one of which is in the Quotes section) are used in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, often Punctuated! For! Emphasis!.
  • 6teen: Spoken word for word by Niki when the Escalator Girls toss her into a mall garbage can.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: In "From Here to Ed", after Kevin wrecks Eddy's latest scam, the Ed declares war on him.
    Eddy: I hope you're a light sleeper, 'cause I'll be all over you like a bad itch! It's war, I tell you!
  • Cobra Commander declares this when he emerges from the wreckage of his mansion badly scarred in G.I. Joe: Renegades.
    Cobra Commander: They want to start a war with Cobra? Then Cobra will finish it...
  • Samurai Jack: In the episode "Jack and the Scotsman", the Scotsman seemed to be rather enjoying himself squaring up against Jack... until Jack stabs his bagpipes, at which point he starts going all-out with his attacks.
    The Scotsman: (calmly) You’ve done it now.
  • Ben 10: Alien Force: After Rath forces his way into his mouth to rescue the Tiffin, Jarett of Pantophage declares with his broken teeth "Certainly you realize that this means war!" However, Rath threatening to knit his intestines into a sweater put those plans to an end.
  • South Park: In "The Passion of the Jew", Stan and Kenny hated "The Passion of the Christ" so they go to Mel Gibson's house to demand their money back. Then they find out who Gibson really is...
    Stan: Dude, this guy is freaking daffy!
    Mel Gibson: How DARE you call me crazy! This means war! [whoops like a Native American and starts shooting Stan and Kenny]
  • On a few Droopy shorts, occasionally the short's villain would push Droopy too far, at which point he would get in his face and say "You know what? That makes me mad." He would then start giving him a huge beating.
  • In Central Park, Season 1 "Dog Spray Afternoon", Owen was mad when the tagger tag "SHART" all over the park, but he's furious when the tagger starts tagging on trees. Fed up with the tagger, he goes to a camping store to buy stuff to stakeout the tagger.

    Real Life 
  • The immediate lead-up to and course of World War I is famously complicated, but suffice it to say that this phrase got tossed around a whole lot right after Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated, as pretty much everyone wanted a war.
    • Austria-Hungary (Central Powers) wanted to crush Serbia's military Junta and end their campaign of state-sponsored terrorism by replacing them with a stable and peaceful government.
    • Russia (Entente) was unwilling to look bad on the international stage by refusing to support Serbia after so many perceived humiliations in recent decades, wanted to expand her influence in The Balkans, was sure she could defeat Austria-Hungary, and was confident France would help if Germany got involved. The tsar also wanted to avoid domestic revolution by focusing the national discourse on a great patriotic effort akin to the Napoleonic Wars.
    • Germany (Central Powers) was deeply pessimistic about her chances in a war with France and Russia and hated to be dragged into a war over something as stupid as this, but was terrified of facing them alone. Her war-plans also called for a knockout blow to France before Russia could mobilize, so any attempt at a "limited" war were right out.
    • France (Entente) was supremely confident that her army was the best in Europe, wanted to conquer Alsace-Lorraine, cynically noted that now was the best time for a warnote , and knew that this was her best chance to get Russia on her side in a war against Germany (since it involved Russian interests, whereas if it only involved French interests then Russia couldn't be counted on to join).
    • Britain (Entente) was looking for a convenient 'out' to dangerous levels of popular unrest at home (class tensions, The Irish Question, etc.) and jumped at the chance to grab German colonies and German ships and devastate Germany's economy. But the Cabinet was still divided over getting involved and the waverers staked their involvement a cause that opinion polls told them the British Public would back - guaranteeing Belgian Neutrality (and, indirectly, upholding the post-Great War European order that Britain had helped shape in 1815).
    • The Ottoman Empire (eventually Central Powers) was deeply divided on which side (if any) to support, with even the military being split. The army was heavily pro-German, while the navy was just as heavily pro-British. But then Britain seized a pair of battleships they'd been building for the Ottomans to bolster their own fleet; while the contract allowed for this in wartime emergencies, this outraged the Turkish people who had helped pay for the ships via donations when the Ottoman navy had proved unable to afford the full purchase price. The Germans capitalized by giving one of their battlecruisers (for free!) to the Ottomans (but with the crew remaining entirely German; this would soon become very important), decisively pulling them into the Central Powers camp.
    • Russia (Entente) wanted the end of the Ottoman Empire and chunks of Ottoman territory. When Germany ordered the German crew of an Ottoman Navy ship (see above) to bombard Russian ports, Russia refused the Ottomans' apology and declared war on them.
    • Yuan Shikai's China (Entente) wanted German Qingdao.
    • Japan (Entente) wanted German Qingdao, and German Pacific Territories.
    • Italy (Entente, 1915) wanted large chunks of Austro-Hungarian territory that the latter was not willing to give her.
    • Bulgaria (Central Powers, 1915) wanted parts of Serbia and Romania.
    • Romania (Entente, 1916) wanted parts of Hungary and Bulgaria.
    • The USA (Entente, 1917) wanted a say in the post-war peace settlement without sacrificing too many of her own people. It also wanted to make sure it and its bankers got paid (many if not most of the belligerents had borrowed heavily from the US). Germany sending a telegram to Mexico promising to give them back lost territories in case Mexico joined a war on the US.
  • On October 28, 1940, the Italian Ambassador to Greece presented a three-hour ultimatum to Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas, demanding that Italian troops be allowed free passage to unspecified strategic points throughout Greek territory. Today, Greeks acclaim Metaxas' reply via "Ohi Day," or "No! Day," but Metaxas' actual response was "Alors, c'est la guerre!" note 
  • The Pearl Harbor attack. Japanese Naval Marshal General Isoroku Yamamoto is alleged to have said:
    • Although he probably didn't say those exact words, he did think that way... and he was right.
    • It's also worth noting that in fact he may have realized that the most important thing to do from Japan's perspective was to destroy the U.S. Aircraft Carriers, which they were unable to do as they were at sea and all they had really accomplished was to destroy some battleships that the Americans learned not to heavily rely on anyway.
    • President Roosevelt said something more true to the trope title: "Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy..." If this doesn't sound badass to you, remember what "infamy" means: what he essentially said was "This Is Unforgivable!, and we shall never forget it." Less than one hour after those words were spoken, America officially declared war. An act that required Congressional approval in these days - the speech was given in front of Congress with the goal of encouraging members of Congress to vote in favor of a declaration of war.
  • Charles Francis Adams was the American ambassador to England during The American Civil War. He was convinced that a British company was building warships for the Confederacy. He sent a series of notes to the British Foreign Minister insisting that the British government stop this, since England was supposed to be neutral. The last note contained the sentence: "It would be superfluous of me to point out to your Lordship that this is war." The British government bought the ships in question.
  • While not a formal declaration of war, when the government began executing the handful of captured rebel leaders of the Dublin Shoot-out/'Easter Rising' on the grounds that they'd crossed a line by killing innocent people, well-known (Irish) 'Home Rule' supporter John Dillon rushed to London and warned Asquith (Prime Minister of the time) to halt the executions, saying: "You are washing our whole life work in a sea of blood." This was promptly ignored, and over time public opinion in the city and the rest of west-Britain came down on the side of the killers who hadn't been in uniform.
  • Before the Six Day War, Israel specifically said that blocking the Straits of Tiran meant this. They weren't kidding.
  • Likewise several maritime powers have a standing "This Means War" on anyone who captures Istanbul. The reason for this is that Constantinople keeps the Russian fleet bottled up in the Black sea.
  • The Latin phrase for this is Casus Belli and this is the version often used in diplo-speak. Actually it sounds scarier in English than in Latin despite the reputation of the original Latin speakers.
  • After the attack on Saguntum in the beginning of the Second Punic War, the Roman ambassador to Carthage went before the Carthaginian Senate and said that he carried in the folds of his toga peace or war and demanded that they choose. The Carthaginians said "you choose". So the Roman said he let fall war. And the Carthaginians said, "We accept it".
  • After having given Hitler what he wanted again and again, Britain and France finally drew a line in the sand after the Munich agreement and said that an attack on Poland would be the final straw. When Hitler decided to attack Poland on September 1 1939, even Neville Chamberlain finally had enough and Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany two days later. It still took months for even an attempt at an Anglo-French offensive against the Nazis, though.
  • After the election of Abraham Lincoln, a bunch of states seceded from the Union before Lincoln could do or say a single thing (at the time inauguration was in March and it was seen as impolite to speak publicly as a candidate or during the transition) and while President James Buchanan did nothing, Lincoln had a situation that would either mean the dissolution of the Union or war on his hands. In his inauguration speech, Lincoln thus made a very clear threat to the South: You can still come back and we can still talk, but fire a shot and we will retaliate. After the South had already taken over a lot of federal property through treason (federal officers turning towards the South) subterfuge or threats, they had not yet used major violence to capture federal property in the South. But several forts, including Fort Sumter were still in Union hands. Lincoln tried to keep Fort Sumter supplied and the South finally fired on it to force the garrison to surrender. In that battle nobody diednote  but Lincoln could not take the flag being fired upon after his earlier words to the South and called for volunteers. That pushed some of the other slave-owning states over the edge and the American Civil War began.
  • President George W. Bush's thought process as the events of September 11 unfolded:
    "When the first plane struck, I thought it was an accident. When the second plane struck, I thought it was terrorism. When the third plane hit, it was a declaration of war."


"It. Is. On!"

Rarity and Applejack turn a pillow fight into an all-out war.

How well does it match the trope?

3.4 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / ChildishPillowFight

Media sources: