sucker punch(redirected from sucker-punches)
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1. noun A punch dealt when the other person isn't looking or prepared. I knew I was a match for the guy, but he landed a sucker punch after his friend distracted me. The fighter was thrown out of the boxing league for landing a sucker punch on his opponent after the round ended.
2. noun Any defeat or setback that was particularly unexpected and damaging. The hidden recordings of the mayor's backdoor meetings with industry lobbyists has been a sucker punch to her re-election campaign. These interest rate hikes are just the latest in a series of sucker punches to homeowners struggling to meet their mortgage payments and keep their homes in the struggling economy.
3. verb To throw or land a punch dealt when the other person isn't looking or prepared. Sometimes hyphenated. The guy sucker punched Alex when he turned to go to the bathroom, putting him in a coma. If sucker-punching your opponent is what you consider a manly way of dealing with a dispute, then you have no concept of what real masculinity is.
An unexpected blow, as in They felt that suddenly raising the interest rate was a sucker punch to the administration. This expression comes from boxing, where it is used for a punch delivered unexpectedly; boxing great Jack Dempsey wrote, "The right lead [for a right-handed boxer] is called a sucker punch." [Slang; mid-1900s]