punch above one's weight

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

United States Air Force Staff Sgt. Gary Griffin (left) and United States Army Spc. Zacchaeus Hardrick at the 2011 Armed Forces Boxing Championship held at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, USA

An allusion to a boxer who punches more powerfully than other boxers in the same weight class.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

punch above one's weight (third-person singular simple present punches above one's weight, present participle punching above one's weight, simple past and past participle punched above one's weight)

  1. (idiomatic) To achieve or perform at a higher level than would be expected based on one's preparation, attributes, rank, or past accomplishments.
    • 2008 December 11, David Charter, “Ireland takes a gamble on new Lisbon vote”, in The Times[1], London, retrieved 23 December 2009:
      Ireland's current commissioner, Charlie McCreevy, is such a high-profile and outspoken figure who punches above his weight in Brussels in the important role of internal market commissioner.
    • 2011 January 29, Chris Bevan, “Torquay 0 – 1 Crawley Town”, in BBC Sport[2], archived from the original on 14 January 2016:
      Having spent more than £500,000 on players last summer, Crawley can hardly be classed as minnows but they have still punched way above their weight and this kind of performance means no-one will relish pulling them out of the hat in Sunday's draw.

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