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As in topic, what does "catch it on the chin" idiom mean? I tried to google it, but every hit is on webpages that use this idiom, never explain it.

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Can you give the context in which you saw it used? (And what do you mean by "As in topic?") – JLG Apr 26 '12 at 16:38
If you meant an idiom, it is actually, "take it on the chin", not "catch it ...". – Kris Apr 26 '12 at 17:25
Voting to close as "Too Localised". Google Books - "catch it on the chin": 5 results, against "take it on the chin": 89,300 results. – FumbleFingers Apr 26 '12 at 18:15
up vote 5 down vote accepted

While it is true that expressions like having a chin are used in boxing to express "having the ability to absorb punches when you get hit with a big shot and stay standing", my understanding of "catch it on the chin" is that it means to be struck a severe blow and not receive it well. At boxing.isport.com boxers are advised "Tuck your chin to your front shoulder to limit the effect of punches landed on your head", and at heavyfists.com, "If you think you have a weak chin or a glass jaw, bulk up your neck." Even so, letting a punch get to your head is a failure of defense, and to take a hit on the chin is to risk being knocked out. The idea is to catch punches on your gloves, on your elbows, not on your chin, because rapid head motion bumps the brain into the skull, which is the usual knockout mechanism.

As mentioned in a comment, thefreedictionary.com lists take it on the chin:

take it on the chin and take it on the nose
1. Lit. to stand up to something adverse, such as criticism. (Fig. on taking a direct punch to the head in boxing.) They laid some blunt criticism on him, but he took it on the chin. I knew he could take it on the nose.
2. Fig. to receive the full brunt of something. Why do I have to take it on the chin for something I didn't do? If you did it, you have to learn to take it on the chin.

However, take it on the chin is not the same as catch it on the chin, which as I explained above indicates a failure of defense.

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btw, the OP talks of an idiom. "catch it ..." is not an idiom, only a common phrase in boxing. Let's clarify this to the OP thru' a comment. – Kris Apr 26 '12 at 17:22
+1, A fine answer. – JLG Apr 26 '12 at 17:24
@Kris, or by a tag edit; eg -idioms, +meaning – jwpat7 Apr 26 '12 at 17:25
Both phrases imply the same thing, when used as a metaphor: it is risky to do so but when you do, you show courage and endurance. More details are at the answer by @Brett Reynolds. Together the three answers seem to make for a comprehensive explanation -- a wiki, don't they? – Kris Apr 26 '12 at 17:47

undaunted; not cowed down by; cf. "face it".

also, take it on the chin (see on idioms.thefreedictionary.com)

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Source, please? – JLG Apr 26 '12 at 16:52
By now, I've edited that in as well. Can't paste url, though, sorry. – Kris Apr 26 '12 at 16:56
The figurative definitions I see for "take it on the chin" are more about taking the full brunt of something or enduring trouble. See: idioms.thefreedictionary.com/Chin – JLG Apr 26 '12 at 17:05

If a fighter takes a hit on the chin, it will whip his head around because of the leverage. It other words, it will be a very effective hit. Thus, in general, taking something on the chin is not a good thing. It means you take the full hit of it. On the other hand, if you willingly take something on the chin, it's a brave thing to do. As Kris says, you face it without turning away.

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