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What does the idiomatic expression 'to hit below the belt' mean?

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To hit below the belt means to hit someone in the groin. A 'low blow' means the same thing. The expression comes from boxing, but can equally applied to martial arts, football, and most other contact sports.

Metaphorically speaking, hitting below the belt means to do something that is both hurtful and clearly unfair, such as lying about a friend, deliberately hurting someone's feelings, or cheating your way into a position (or a promotion) that rightfully belongs to someone else.

In boxing it's illegal to hit someone below the belt. It's considered a cheap and mean thing to do. Hitting someone below the belt refers to saying something particularly mean and hurtful to another.
The phrase "to hit below the belt" originated in the sport of boxing. It was used to refer to a hit that went below the boxer's belt, which is an unfair strike. Therefore, the phrase is used to describe something very unfair.
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