punch above one's weight

Discussion in 'English Only' started by gambheyhey, Nov 23, 2006.

  1. gambheyhey Senior Member

    what does this phrase mean exactly? any usage examples?

    thank you.
  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
  3. CathyMF Member

    L'Hérault, France
    England English
    Good morning to you in China!

    It is an expression that comes from the sport of boxing which is, of course, divided into different categories of weight - heavyweight, bantam, etc. - and people of the same weight category fight each other. If, however, you were to punch above your weight, you would be fighting someone bigger than you; another way of putting it might be to say you would be out of your depth. You would be taking on somebody cleverer/more powerful/etc than you are yourself.

    Some examples:

    David Cameron thinks he can beat Gordon Brown in the next election, but I reckon he's punching above his weight.

    You think a movie star would go out with you? You're punching above your weight!

    I hope that is of some help.
  4. gambheyhey Senior Member

    thanks a lot to you both....
  5. akeru New Member

    London, UK
    Spanish/ British
    and what if it's to punch its weight? An example of this is:
    china starts to punch its weight in the world arena
    Does it mean that China is fighting with all of its weight, even if it didn't before?
  6. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    Yes, it means that China is now using everything it has to influence <the> world as much as you would expect it to, given its size, etc.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015
  7. Better Red New Member

    English (AU)
    Hope its OK to post to very old thread.

    My question is - does anyone know when/where this phrase was first used?

    It's seems to be used a lot these days in the UK. But its usage seems to be fairly recent - within the last 10-20 years. Heard General Sir Richard Shirreff use it today.
    It's been used in Australia ever since the 1950's at least.

    So did the Brits get from the Aussies?

    Begs the question is there a good place to find out when a where a phrase was first used?


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