Also found in: Dictionary, Acronyms.
1. A strong hit to one's body. Everyone in the audience gasped when the seasoned boxer took a body blow from his opponent and dropped to his knees in agony.
2. By extension, a large disappointment or setback. Olivia's dreams of becoming a professional ice skater took a body blow when she tore a ligament in her right knee. The scandal was a body blow to the politician's career, and he retired to the private sector.
An action that causes severe damage, as in This last recession dealt a body blow to our whole industry. This term comes from boxing, where since the 18th century it has been used to refer to a punch that is landing between the opponent's chest and navel. [c. 1900]
a body blowmainly BRITISH, JOURNALISM
COMMON A body blow is something which causes someone great disappointment or difficulty. The sport received a body blow when the schools programme was virtually halted. The result will deliver a body blow to Conservative party confidence. These tax concessions could soon be abolished, which will be a body blow to the manufacturers. Note: In boxing, a body blow is a punch above the waist.
body blowa severe disappointment or crushing setback.
2004 BBC News: Business Energywatch said next month's increases were ‘a body blow to consumers’. ‘This price rise is going to add millions to bills.’