punching bag


punch·​ing bag ˈpən-chiŋ- How to pronounce punching bag (audio)
: a stuffed or inflated bag usually suspended for free movement and punched for exercise or for training in boxing
: one who is routinely abused or defeated by another

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The best use of Pact airpower was not to bomb NATO troops, but simply to act as a sponge – or a punching bag – for NATO aircraft. Michael Peck, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2022 The docuseries explores how, throughout the ‘90s and early 2000s, Barney turned into a cultural punching bag, the subject of disdain from adults and derision from kids desperate to disavow their childish pastimes. Daniel Arkin, NBC News, 10 Oct. 2022 Trostyanets became an early punching bag in the Russian invasion, Tchaikovsky’s erstwhile estate and a nearby statue of the composer both sustaining damage. Hannah Edgar, Chicago Tribune, 23 Sep. 2022 In the process, USC has become a punching bag, a bludgeon and a running thread in an increasingly acrimonious mayoral race. Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times, 11 Sep. 2022 The robotic punching bag recognizes and escapes your strikes, swelling both strength and velocity of your punches. IEEE Spectrum, 20 Jan. 2023 True to his name, Rocky took up boxing at a young age, with Gellar proudly posting photos of him gloved-up at the punching bag in 2016. Sophie Dodd, Peoplemag, 20 Jan. 2023 Practice your strike and aim reflexes with this standing punching bag. John Thompson, Men's Health, 14 Nov. 2022 Social media, often a punching bag here, took more hits this year. Rob Pegoraro, USA TODAY, 8 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'punching bag.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of punching bag was in 1886

Dictionary Entries Near punching bag

Cite this Entry

“Punching bag.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/punching%20bag. Accessed 28 Mar. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on punching bag

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Love It or Hate It

  • heart-fire
  • When asked about her blind date, Carol spoke for hours with vitriol.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?