hit below the belt

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hit (one) below the belt

To unfairly target one's weakness or vulnerability. The phrase refers to boxing, in which hitting an opponent below the waist is prohibited. I know she really wants the promotion, but she really hit me below the belt by telling the boss about my personal problems.
See also: below, belt, hit

hit below the belt

To unfairly target another person's weakness or vulnerability. The phrase refers to boxing, in which hitting an opponent below the waist is unacceptable. I know she really wants the promotion, but she hit below the belt when she told the boss about my personal problems.
See also: below, belt, hit
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

hit someone below the belt

 
1. Lit. [for a boxer] to strike an opponent below the belt. (An unfair blow.) The champ hit the contender below the belt and the crowd began to boo like fury. Fred was hit below the belt and suffered considerably.
2. Fig. to deal someone an unfair blow. That's not fair! You told them I was the one who ordered the wrong-size carpet. That's hitting me below the belt. Todd hit below the belt when he said it was all her fault because she had become ill during the trip.
See also: below, belt, hit
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

below the belt, hit

Not behave according to the rules or decency, unfairly, as in Bringing up my mother's faults-that's really hitting below the belt. The term comes from boxing, where according to the Marquis of Queensberry Rules (1865) a fighter may punch his opponent only in the upper body or head. For a synonym, see low blow; also see under one's belt.
See also: below, hit
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

below the belt

Unfair behavior. The term comes from boxing, where the Marquess of Queensberry rules, formulated in 1865, prohibit striking an opponent there. It began to be used figuratively in the late nineteenth century.
See also: below, belt
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
It's a malicious propaganda, it's hitting below the belt, and it's unfair."
To blame a president and a secretary of state, as Republicans are brazenly doing these days, for the tragedy in Benghazi -- as if President Obama and Secretary Clinton could have anticipated the assault and thus pre-empted it -- is hitting below the belt. Diplomats, like soldiers, like adventurers, like tourists in strange locales with equally strange customs, must take risks.
Walker called the push polls hitting below the belt.
The test for Tyson is that he is taking on a man twice disqualified from big fights for hitting below the belt.
The test is that Tyson takes on a man twice disqualified from big fights for hitting below the belt.
"When I was a boy, our parents taught us that hitting below the belt was a cowardly thing," he once said.
He boasts 20 stoppages in those victories - and reckons the two losses were for technical disqualifications, hitting below the belt and a clash of heads.
Hitting below the belt, Rana Sanaullah also pointed to Imran's staggering in the oath over the Arabic words for the finality of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and said such mistake cannot be expected from a Muslim.