roll with the punches


roll with the punches


  • to be positive and not let failures or criticism get you down.
  • to employ a talent for containing aggression and defusing a situation.
  • to adjust to difficulties, one might encounter or go through.
  • in a boxing bout, to lessen the effect of the opponent’s incoming punches.
  • being adaptable in a circumstance by dealing with it and enduring it.
  • to adapt to a challenge.
  • to alter one’s behavior in reaction to difficult or unpleasant circumstances.

Examples in Sentences

  1. His negotiating ability and willingness to roll with punches impressed all sides.
  2. I have been trying to roll with the punches until I get back on my feet since losing the job.
  3. The guy always had to get even because he could never roll with the punches.
  4. While trying to get a chance for his best hook punch in the match, he had to roll with the punches.
  5. He had to roll with the punches by calling a taxi after his car broke down while heading home from the gym.
  6. The flower company had to roll with the punches by watering their flower garden using a hose after the sprinklers stopped working.


Boxing is believed to be the origin of the expression “roll with the punches.” The expression has been employed as a metaphor in boxing for several centuries. In a boxing bout, boxers will strive to angle themselves in various ways to decrease the effects of incoming blows. Fighters can “roll” with an opponent’s punch by turning their bodies and heads back toward the direction of the blow. This will lessen the force of the blow and make it less harmful than a full hit. The boxer will, for instance, turn his body and head back to the left in response to a left punch from the opponent.

When describing a recent sparring boxing battle, a newspaper, The Boston Daily Globe, used the expression “roll with the punches” in 1903.

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