below the belt


1. cruel and unfair






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that remark was below the belt. He/she should apologize

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This expression comes from boxing where it is against the rules to hit an opponent 'below the belt'. Something which is considered 'below the belt' is a comment or remark that is too personal or which is considered unfair or unjust. Usually, something which is 'below the belt' is deliberate and said with the intention of causing upset. 

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  1. Overall, Tom's wedding speech was quite funny, but I thought the joke he made about the bride's previous marriage was a bit below the belt.

Check Icon Professional Examples (Advance)

  1. Criticizing my pitch to the potential clients was fair, but my boss saying it was the only reason we didn't get the contract is a bit below the belt. There were many other causes.
  2. I know that Sarah is gunning for my job, but telling our manager about my personal problems was below the belt. I really expected a lot better from her.

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