What does the idiom "take sth on the chin" mean?

Are you using the idiom take sth on the chin but not sure about its meaning? Using idioms, which are important elements of spoken and written language, in the right place strengthens your language skills. Examine the meaning of the take sth on the chin idiom and the situations in which it is used.

Meaning of "take sth on the chin"


The idiom “take sth on the chin” means to accept criticism or failure without complaint. It is often used as a means of encouraging someone to accept a difficult situation or difficult news that may be hard to accept. The phrase usually carries a connotation of bravery and resilience, implying that adversity can be faced with courage and strength.


The origin of the phrase “take sth on the chin” is not clear, but it is believed to draw from boxing terminology. In boxing, a punch to the chin is often seen as the most damaging, and taking a punch on the chin is seen as an act of courage and toughness. This likely gave rise to the phrase as a metaphor for showing strength in the face of difficult circumstances.


The phrase “take sth on the chin” can be used in both formal and informal contexts in order to encourage someone to take on a challenge or accept criticism without complaint. It is often used as a piece of advice, encouraging people to be brave and resilient in the face of adversity. It can also be used more literally to encourage someone to accept a more physical challenge.

Example Sentences

  • He had been rejected from the job he wanted, but I told him to take it on the chin and apply for the next job that came along.
  • She was worried about her exam results; I encouraged her to take it on the chin and study for the next one.
  • He was determined to complete the race, no matter how difficult it was, as he promised himself he'd take it on the chin.
  • He was determined to do the heavy lifting, no matter how strenuous it was, as he promised himself he'd take it on the chin.

The meanings of the words in the "take sth on the chin" idiom

Idioms with similar meaning

"Don't judge a book by its cover" is an English idiom that means you shouldn't make assumptions about someone or something based solely on its appearance. In Japanese, the similar idiom is "Hana yori dango," which translates to "Dumplings rather than flowers." This idiom means that substance is more important than appearance.


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