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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Blow-by-Blow: Boxing Idioms 1


Do you know what the things in the picture are used for?


Most people know that English is filled with sports idioms. In America these often come from baseball or American football. But few people realize how many English idioms come from the sport of boxing.

Match these definitions to the terms below:

1. "hitting below the belt," an unfair move
2. adapt to new situations, accept setbacks
3. an unexpected blow, after the fight is over
4. begin something very aggressively
5. do something before others have a chance
6. do something without preparation, or without focus
7. give something a try
8. hold back, restrain oneself
9. detailed report

a. beat someone to the punch
b. blow-by-blow
c. come out swinging
d. low blow
e. pull one's punches
f. roll with the punches
g. sucker punch
h. swing wild
i. take a swing at something


The things in the picture are boxing gloves, worn on the hands when one boxer is hitting another.


Use one of the above terms in each of the following sentences. Be sure to use the correct form.

1. Give me a __________ of the meeting.
2. I'm not going to __________, Brown: You're the worst sales rep we have!
3. In this economy, we have to be ready to __________.
4. Johnson Company may not agree to a sales call, but let's __________ it anyway.
5. Jones was pretending to help me, then stole my idea and presented it to the boss first. That's really a __________!
6. Sam __________ at the start of the meeting, defending himself before he was even accused of anything.
7. We had no idea Rainbow Corp. was going to bid on this project; they really __________ us.
8. We have to launch our product soon, before ABC Company __________.
9. We have to plan our sales campaign carefully; we can't just start __________.


1. What do you know about boxing? Is it popular in your country?
2. Some people feel that boxing is too violent, and should be against the law. How do you feel about that?
3. Make sentences using the terms in a business or every day sense, as in the Practice.


1 d; 2 f ; 3 g ; 4 c; 5 a ; 6 h; 7 i; 8 e ; 9 b


1 b blow-by-blow
2 e pull my punches
3 f roll with the punches
4 i take a swing at
5 d low blow
6 c came out swinging
7 g sucker punched
8 a beats us to the punch
9 h swinging wild

This lesson is ©2012 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

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