A Slap on the Wrist (Origin)
What Is the Origin of the Saying "A Slap on the Wrist"?The term "a slap on the wrist" means a mild punishment.
"A slap on the wrist" is mostly used figuratively to suggest a mild reprimand. It contrasts with "a slap in the face," which suggests a harsher punishment. (Of note, to receive "a slap in the face" carries a connotation of the reprimand being unwarranted or unexpected. This is not the case with a "slap on the wrist," which carries a connotation of getting away with a misdemeanour.)
- John: The CEO said my comment ruined the whole meeting.
- Anna: Wow, that was a real slap in the face.
- John: The CEO said my comment ruined the whole meeting. She wants to see me in the morning.
- Anna: I think you'll get away with a slap on the wrist.
Examples of Use:
- Despite committing a serious offense, he received a slap on the wrist and was given a minimal punishment.
- After causing a significant disruption in class, the student only received a slap on the wrist and was not given any substantial consequences.
- Despite the potential harm caused by his actions, he was let off with a slap on the wrist and faced no significant repercussions.
- She expected a severe penalty for her misconduct, but instead, she received a slap on the wrist and was allowed to continue with minimal consequences.
- They were caught engaging in unethical practices, but all they received was a slap on the wrist, which failed to address the severity of their actions.
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