not pull (one's) punches

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not pull (one's) punches

1. To actually punch someone, when one was supposed to pretend to. I want to make the scene realistic, so don't pull your punches next time!
2. By extension, to not restrict or constrain one's commentary or criticism of someone or something, to the point or being potentially offensive or tactless. I want your honest opinion of my story—don't pull your punches! Wow, your aunt really doesn't pull her punches. Is my sweatshirt really that ugly?
See also: not, pull, punch

not pull your punches

or

pull no punches

COMMON If someone does not pull their punches or pulls no punches, they state facts or opinions directly, without trying not to upset people. He had never lied to me in the past and he didn't pull his punches now. He told me that in his opinion, Robin would be dead in nine months. He pulls no punches in his attacks on the government's foreign policy. Note: If boxers pull their punches, they do not hit their opponent as hard as they could do.
See also: not, pull, punch
References in classic literature ?
why did you not pull the church to pieces, and bring the chandelier home with you?
This was the first time of wearing a check-rein, and I must say, though it certainly was a nuisance not to be able to get my head down now and then, it did not pull my head higher than I was accustomed to carry it.
All this I saw, and my brain now working rapidly, I thought a thousand thoughts; and yet I could not pull the triggers.
They found the ladder so heavy they could not pull it up, so the Scarecrow fell off the wall and the others jumped down upon him so that the hard floor would not hurt their feet.
No matter how he pulled and tugged, he could not pull it out.
Then he related how the boy had started out in search of the things needed to make the magic charm, which would restore the unfortunates to life, and how he had found the Woozy and taken him along because he could not pull the three hairs out of its tail.
The other thing was that if they did not pull it down for a few minutes it would have completed its circle and returned close to where I stood.
And though the other boats, unharmed, still hovered hard by; still they dared not pull into the eddy to strike, lest that should be the signal for the instant destruction of the jeopardized castaways, Ahab and all; nor in that case could they themselves hope to escape.
lads," cried Aylward, jumping upon the fallen trunk, "I think that we could not look the girls in the eyes if we let the prince cross the mountains and did not pull string to clear a path for him.
The advertisement ended with some Latin words which we might translate, "Please do not pull down the advertisement.
If she gives you her heart,' said I, 'you must take it, thankfully, and use it well, and not pull it in pieces, and laugh in her face, because she cannot snatch it away.
All hands jumped out into the water, and tried to get the boat off; but as no one dared to give the word, they could not pull together, and their labor was in vain.
After we had fished some time and caught nothing - for when I had fish on my hook I would not pull them up, that he might not see them - I said to the Moor, "This will not do; our master will not be thus served; we must stand farther off.
Less than ten blacks had been known to rush a blackbirder officered by no more than two white men, and Van Horn's hand closed on the butt of his automatic, although he did not pull it clear of the holster, and although, with his left hand, he directed the cigar to his mouth and puffed it lively alight.
Seeing this she did not pull the door back, but she did not let go the handle so that he almost dragged her out with it on to the stairs.