pull punches

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Related to pull punches: cut some slack, rolls with the punches

pull (one's) punches

1. To act as if one is punching someone, without making any or much physical contact. How dare you—I have never pulled my punches during a fight in my entire career! I know you're trying to make the scene realistic, but please pull your punches next time!
2. By extension, to restrain one's commentary or criticism to avoid offending or upsetting someone. (Usually used in the negative.) 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: pull, punch

pull one's punches

1. [for a boxer] to strike with light blows to enable the other boxer to win. Bill has been barred from the boxing ring for pulling his punches. "I never pulled punches in my life!" cried Tom.
2. Fig. to hold back in one's criticism. (Usually in the negative. The one's can be replaced with any in the negative.) I didn't pull any punches. I told her exactly what I thought of her. The teacher doesn't pull any punches when it comes to discipline.
See also: pull, punch

pull (one's) punches

To refrain from deploying all the resources or force at one's disposal: didn't pull any punches during the negotiations.
See also: pull, punch
References in periodicals archive ?
And the Azkals refused to pull punches with Stephan Schrock booked for a late challenge on Daisuke Sato.
He will front Good Morning Scotland two mornings a week in run-up to the big vote and he won't pull punches.
Pull punches, and it's easy to be labeled a powder-puff, suck-up and shill.
99) lightheartedly refuses to pull punches and lands some lusty blows along the way - some smack on Hoddle's protruding jaw.
Not to put too fine a word on it, it targeted the establishment figures in the area in which the paper circulated - and, because it didn't pull punches, it was one of the better read columns.
My officers will be there to tell drivers just what it is like to have to deal with a horrific road accident, and they will not pull punches.
He will be on hand to offer tips on singing and song writing to the lucky 13,but has also promised not to pull punches on those whose performances don't come up to scratch.
It promises to be a no-holds-barred account of the squad's two months in Australia, and Henry is not a man to pull punches.
It's a very balanced report that also doesn't pull punches," says Ray A.
Given the chance to write about General Motors from the inside, Drucker didn't pull punches.
C4 rarely pull punches, but this series really hits home with its authenticity, not to mention a knock-out cast.