What does the idiom "deal a blow to" mean?

You are wondering about the meaning of the phrase deal a blow to, maybe you heard it in a TV show, movie or theater play. Although this idiom is not used very often, it enriches your capacity of expression and strengthens communication. In which case is the expression deal a blow to used and what is its meaning?

Meaning of "deal a blow to"


The idiomatic phrase 'deal a blow to' signifies a powerful, negative effect on somebody or something. It implies an action or event that has an overwhelming impact on the person or thing in question, causing it to suffer a severe setback or decline. The phrase can be used to describe anything from a physical strike to a mental or emotional blow, or a financial or commercial hit.


The phrase 'deal a blow to' is believed to have originated in the early 1600s. It is derived from the Old English 'blōwan', which means to strike or beat. This original phrase became 'blow a deal' as it evolved into its modern usage, and its meaning came to be associated with other types of damage beyond physical strikes.


The phrase 'deal a blow to' can be used in a variety of contexts. It can be used to describe a physical action, such as when an athlete or fighter 'deals a blow', meaning they hit an opponent or object. It is also used to describe an event or occurrence that causes a significant impact, such as when a natural disaster 'deals a blow' to a community. It may also be used to refer to a setback or decline in one's fortunes, such as when a change in government policy 'deals a blow' to businesses in a particular industry.

Example Sentences

  • The devastating hurricane dealt a blow to the local economy.
  • The financial loss dealt a blow to the company's bottom line.
  • The scandal dealt a blow to her reputation.
  • The fighter dealt a powerful blow to his opponent.
  • The new tax regulations dealt a blow to small business owners.

The meanings of the words in the "deal a blow to" idiom

Idioms have a common language

"The early bird catches the worm" is an English idiom that means that those who wake up early and start their day early are more likely to succeed. A similar idiom in Spanish is "El que madruga, Dios le ayuda," which translates to "God helps those who rise early." This idiom emphasizes the importance of starting the day early in order to achieve success.


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