Topic 1: Basic Nuclear Physics – Step 15

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English Idioms

What does “pack a punch” mean?

In Chapter 3, isotopes “pack a punch.”

This is an informal phrase meaning “to hit very hard.” If someone hits very hard when fighting, they “pack” or “carry with them” a hard punch. It can also mean to have a powerful influence or impact.


“The top U.S. general in Iraq says al Qaeda is trying to turn people against Iraqs government and says the enemy can still pack a punch.”

August 26, 2010

CBS Morning News

“If you prefer your java to pack a punch, try a full-bodied darker roast from Costa Rica or Kenya, such as Starbucks’s classic French Roast or Peet’s Aged Moka-Java.”

“Why we love coffee,” by Donna Bulesco.

 Redbook (2002), Vol. 198, Iss. 3, p. 122.

Think Ahead: How do isotopes “pack a punch”?