Where does the expression “hitting below the belt” come from and What does it mean?

The expression “hitting below the belt” means: Using unfair methods or actions.

As anyone knows who has attended a prize fight or watched one on television, or who has witnessed any other pugilistic engagement, to strike one’s opponent below the line of his belt is a foul blow and, if done deliberately or repeatedly, may cause the decision to be rendered against the offender.

Both literal and figurative uses of the expression arose from the adoption in 1867 of the Marquis of Queensberry rules covering prize fighting.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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