below the belt

below the belt

Meaning

  • to be mean and unfair (in a fight)
  • to not have regards for the rules that have been set out in order to ensure that the fight stays fair
  • cruel, unjust or unacceptable
  • something that is unwarranted and unnecessarily brought up
  • to be unreasonable, unjustifiable and out of turn

Example Sentences

  1. The shot that he took at him was completely below the belt. Decent people do not compete like this.
  2. I do not believe in fighting below the belt. The dignity of a fight is lost when people do that.
  3. At the time of the divorce proceedings they were both taking shots below the belt. It was embarrassing to even witness it.
  4. Maria always fights below the belt. That is the reason no one in the society likes to argue with her.
  5. I saw a street fight today and apparently even they have rules against fighting below the belt.
  6. Ahead of the elections, politicians won’t hesitate to aim below the belt.

Origin

The portion below the belt of a man is considered sensitive and taking a hit at it is socially unacceptable. In formal fights there are rules about hitting someone below the belt. This literal translation became a metaphor for fighting in an unfair, even dirty manner.

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