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See Rope-a-dope.


rope-a-dope (plural rope-a-dopes)

  1. (boxing) A technique in which the boxer assumes a defensive stance against the ropes and absorbs an opponent's blows, hoping to exploit eventual tiredness or a mistake.
    • 1999, James W Hall, Tropical Freeze
      He sounded like a retired boxer who'd specialized in the rope-a-dope.
    • 2003, Steve Hamilton, North of Nowhere
      I went into my own version of Ali's rope-a-dope, ducking as many of the heavy blows as I could, and waiting for some kind of idea to come to me.
  2. (figuratively) Any strategy where an apparently losing position is assumed in the hope of eventual victory.
    • 2002, Steven Hill, Fixing Elections
      [] process that in recent years has degenerated, sadly, into one long scorched-earth campaign filled with partisan rancor and legislative rope-a-dope.
    • 2007, Robert Shrum, No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner
      Maybe, I suggested, it was the old rope-a-dope to lower expectations, but that was tougher for him than it had been in 2000: He was now the president.


rope-a-dope (third-person singular simple present rope-a-dopes, present participle rope-a-doping, simple past and past participle rope-a-doped)

  1. (figuratively) To exhaust someone by stringing them along.
    Willis rope-a-doped us all night.