punch above/below your weight

punch above (one's) weight

1. To perform, achieve, or do something at a level that is considered beyond one's abilities, talents, or personal attributes. The small-town mayor has been punching above her weight recently, going head-to-head with federal lawmakers over the issue of immigration reform.
2. To be romantically or sexually involved with someone who is considered by others to be superior in physical appearance, intelligence, or success. I think Janet's new boyfriend is a model or something. She's really punching above her weight!
See also: above, punch, weight

punch above your weight

If a person, organization or place punches above their weight, they have more influence or power than people would expect them to have. The small Florida city of Tallahassee has always considered itself to punch above its weight when it comes to sport. Villa have punched above their weight all season and it will be a remarkable achievement if they finish fifth.
See also: above, punch, weight

punch above your weight

engage in an activity or contest perceived as being beyond your capacity or abilities.
This is a metaphor from boxing, in which contests are arranged between opponents of nearly equal weight.
1998 Spectator Post-imperial Britain retains an imperial habit of mind…we entertain…an ambition to ‘punch above our weight’.
See also: above, punch, weight

punch above/below your ˈweight

do an activity that might be considered above/below your abilities: Scotland is punching above its weight in research output.
See also: above, below, punch, weight