What's the meaning of the phrase 'A dust up'?
A f'dust-up' is a ifght.
What's the origin of the phrase 'A dust up'?
Clearly this term alludes to the dust raised in a scuffle or fight. It isn't an especially old phrase and first appears around the end of the 19th century. The earliest printed reference I can find is in the London Daily News, March 1897:
They turned at the Lasher, and after a dust-up for about a minute in Iffley Reach did a nice piece of paddling back to the raft.
The expression 'dust-up' had previously been used in horse racing circles. A dust-up was a literal term referring to the dust cloud caused by the sweeping of stables. An early use of this meaning is found in The Birmingham Daily Post, September 1867: :
...he had cleared out the stable in a "dust up".