Meaning of rope-a-dope in English:



mass noun informal US
  • A boxing tactic of pretending to be trapped against the ropes, goading an opponent to throw tiring ineffective punches.

    • ‘Drawing upon other-worldly fortitude and raw courage, Ali simply outlasted Foreman, with his rope-a-dope tactics, before knocking him out in the eighth round.’
    • ‘Perhaps they're attempting a footballing version of Muhammad Ali's famous rope-a-dope?’
    • ‘If you caught the Roy Jones Jr. fight last night you saw his rope-a-dope, ‘chicken wing ‘work to perfection right before sending his opponent to the canvas with a huge right hand.’
    • ‘He hits Foreman with right hands - nobody hits George with right hands - and then he goes into the rope-a-dope and George is pummelling him.’
    • ‘The Foreman bout saw Ali, slower but nail-hard and with the bagful of fight tricks employ the biggest gamble in sporting history, the rope-a-dope, to cement his sporting greatness.’


1970s coined by Muhammad Ali, referring to a tactic in a boxing match with George Foreman.