Boxing Idioms

Boxing is a very old sport. The Greeks included it in the Olympic games in the seventh century A.D. It was reintroduced in England centuries later and came to America with the English. It is a popular sport in the United States, with the championship matches watched by millions on television each year.

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The rules of boxing were codified by the Marquess of Queensberry in England more than a century ago, in 1899. Two fighters used gloved hands to hit each other on areas of the upper body. Matches or bouts are won by: a knockout (A contestant is knocked to the floor and counted out.); a technical decision, where a contestant loses by points; or he is hurt so badly he has to retire from the fight.

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IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to deliver or receive two punches, one right after another
Sentence 1
The boxer knocked out his opponent with a one-two punch combination.
Meaning 2
to be in a difficult situation because two negative things have happened to one
Sentence 2
I got a a one-two punch before the election: Two important groups were against me. I lost.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to be knocked down and be unable to get up before the referee counts to ten
Sentence 1
The fighter is down and out. The fight is over.
Meaning 2
to be in a bad situation and to need help
Sentence 2
The homeless are down and out.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
a competitor in the strongest, heaviest division
Sentence 1
Joe Louis was a great heavyweight boxer.
Meaning 2
to be the most important
Sentence 2
International Business Machines is a heavyweight in the computer business.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to hit another boxer below the belt
Sentence 1
It is illegal to hit a boxer below the belt.
Meaning 2
to hurt someone unnecessarily
Sentence 2
He hit below the belt in that argument when he criticized her appearance.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to be in a division for persons who are light in weight and not as strong as those in the heavyweight division.
Sentence 1
Carlos Ortiz was a lightweight champion in the 1960's.
Meaning 2
to be of lesser importance
Sentence 2
He can't help you. He is a lightweight in this corporation.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
An extremely dangerous wrestling match because no grips or "holds" are forbidden
Sentence 1
He broke his opponents arm because no holds were barred.
Meaning 2
to do anything to achieve a result
Sentence 2
No holds are barred in international arms sales.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
the term refers to the ropes around the boxing ring
Sentence 1
Mohammed Ali was winning the fight and his opponent was on the ropes unable to defend himself.
Meaning 2
If a person, business venture or politician is on the ropes, he or she is in a difficult place.
Sentence 2
The company was deeper in debt and on the ropes.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to have a seat near to the action of the game or fight
Sentence 1
He had a ringside seat at the Tyson fight.
Meaning 2
to be where the action is
Sentence 2
The general had a ringside seat just behind the troop lines.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to be hit on the chin
Sentence 1
The boxer took a punch to the chin and is down.
Meaning 2
to have something bad happen to one
Sentence 2
He took it on the chin today. He was fired.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
the boxing manager throws in the towel to stop the fight
Sentence 1
His manager threw in the towel and the fight was over.
Meaning 2
to give up, to not pursue an objective
Sentence 2
I want to throw in the towel on this marriage. It's not going to work. We fight too much.

Derivation

In the early days of boxing, opponents used bare fists to hit each other. When hit a sponge was used to wipe away blood. When a fighter was no longer able to fight, his manager would throw the bloody sponge into the ring to stop the fight.