Top Definition
Punching up is a term use when someone engages in a conflict with an adversary who has greater power/status then themselves. It's also known by the phrase: "Speaking truth to power". The antonym of "Punching up" would be "Punch down", wherein someone engages in a conflict with an adversary who has less power/status then themselves.
Person 1: What does it mean to "punch up"?
Person 2: Well, say that you engage a Feminist in a debate. You would be punching up since Feminism is the status quo (Meaning it has societal power/status.) and debating it in any form would mean having to challenge someone with more power than you yourself has. You're "punching up" at the person who is above you.
by Saudades December 04, 2015

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A Non-American term meaning 'Massive Fight'.
'I got in a massive punch up yesterday.'
by Psionic22 February 06, 2010

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Slang (Mainly Brit.)


Slugging Fist-fight which will often involve fairly even numbers and teams of around 5-10 a piece (usually, there are exceptions such as major punch-ups). The fight will continue until either all competitiors have ejected themselves but the victor, or until a form of authority has arrived to separate everyone.
We had a punch-up in the local park over the weekend.
by Gumba Gumba February 27, 2004

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usually a school yard fight with someone trying to defend their honor or someone elses. the original people involved dont actually have much to do with the eventual fight, but there are usually more than 3 or 4 a side, and they are not always even
girl 1: did u see that punch up after skool today?
girl 2: yea with dave and that! dave was protecting greg when tom started on him and arranged a fight outside!
by loodie March 17, 2005

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See fisticuffs.

Originates in England.
Flippin' 'eck, Tucker, there's a punchup 'appenin' in the gym!
by Montesquieu April 08, 2004

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Making jokes at the expense of someone who is of a higher level of power in terms of status or privilege.
Racist jokes, rape jokes, gay jokes, are all punching down, because they are all at the expense of the groups with less power. If you flip them around, and make the dominant group the target instead, it is funny to punch up.
by whimsyDances September 12, 2014

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To temporarily be with someone, sexually or casually, who is out of your league.
I have no idea why he's into me, he's beautiful and has like 3 degrees. Just punch up the sex is probably great
by Somerandomdiva May 04, 2015

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