AE 436 – Expression: Pack a Punch

Learn Australian English in this expression episode of The Aussie English Podcast where I teach you how to use the English expression PACK A PUNCH like a native speaker.

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AE 436 – Expression: Pack A Punch

Well, we’re not sure what’s gone on here, but the roo has the dog, not the other way around. Max calmly waits for his owner to come and help. The roo sees the odds stacking against him and tries to gut the dog with his claws one last time. His powerful arms anchor the dog by the breast plate as Max doubles his efforts to escape. Finally, the roo switches his attention to Tongs and sizes up the human to be his next victim. Tongs gives the kangaroo his space, but the cranky buck comes forward ready to attack. To save himself, he launches a right hand to the kangaroo’s snout.


G’day, you mob! How is it going? And welcome to this episode of Aussie English.

So, it’s been an interesting week. As you will have seen, I smashed my phone, or at least Leo the dog smashed my phone, and you can see that He Destroyed My Phone vlog video or podcast episode. You probably saw that. So, I had to fork out a bit of money and get that repaired this week, which wasn’t amazing. And then, also ended up having to get some new shoes. So, I had somehow gotten a hole in the back of one of my shoes, and I had recently bought these shoes, I think over Christmas, and had to go and get some new shoes, because these ones were starting to rub the back of my foot. Very, very uncomfortable.

Anyway, so we go to Athlete’s Foot, a store in one of the malls here. It’s a very common store in Australia, Athlete’s Foot, though, it’s funny, because athlete’s foot is the… I think, it’s tinea, the fungi that you get in your foot. We call that ‘athlete’s foot’ as well. So, it’s always funny that there’s a store called Athlete’s Foot.

Anyway, I go get these new shoes, right? So, they test your feet. They get you to stand on this machine. You walk on the machine so that they can see where the pressure is moving through your feet as you walk. So, they can give you better shoes, I guess, for your feet. And so, we do that. She brings out a few different pairs of shoes. I try them on. I pick the best one, well, the best pair, rather. And then all of a sudden, when I got to pay for it, it was like $240, guys, $240. Jesus!

So, a lot of money. Yeah, I’d forgotten just how much proper running shoes in Australia can cost. So, nearly $250 bucks. So, that was a treat, I guess, but you’ve got to take care of your feet, right? If you’re doing a lot of walking you’re doing a lot of vlogging and podcasting whilst on the move, you need to take care of your feet.

Anyway, so that’s been my week. I also have my birthday, and thanks for everyone who is wishing me happy birthday after the vlog that came out with Leo, He Destroyed My Phone. That actually happened on my birthday. So, that was interesting.

Intro Scene:

Anyway, the movie scene at the start today, guys, that was audio from a ViralHog video on YouTube. So, this is a YouTube channel that gets these viral videos and licenses them. It’s… definitely recommend that you go and watch this video on ViralHog’s YouTube channel. It is an absolute classic. It is very Australian.

So, effectively what’s happening there is that it’s a dangerous situation where a pig dog, a dog that’s been trained to hunt pigs, has been grabbed by a powerful male buck kangaroo, and he could be disemboweled by this kangaroo. So, kangaroos have these claws on their back legs, they kick, and they can actually kill dogs by disemboweling them, scratching them to death, if you’re not careful.

So, the guy who’s the pig dog owner jumps off the car, runs over to try and save the dog, the dog gets away from the kangaroo, and the kangaroo tries to stand up and face this guy like he was going to kick him, and the guy punches the kangaroo in the face. Anyway, it’s a pretty funny strange video. I recommend you go check it out on ViralHog’s YouTube channel.

Anyway, guys, this is The Aussie English Podcast, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone learning Australian English. If you’ve been listening for a while, thanks. It’s great to have you back. If it’s your first time, welcome. I hope you enjoy this podcast episode.

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Aussie Joke:

Anyway, guys, today’s Aussie joke. So, today’s Aussie expression is related to punching, it’s related to boxing, and so I thought it was only appropriate to have an Aussie joke, or a joke, just to joke in general, doesn’t to be Australian, related to boxing, related to punching. So, here’s the joke.

What is a box’s favourite part of a joke? What is a boxer’s favourite part of a joke? The punchline! Do you get it? The punchline.

So, ‘the punchline’ is that final line that makes the joke, right? And in this case the punchline is literally when I said, “the punchline”. What’s a boxer’s favorite part of a joke? The punchline.

So, it’s a pun, it’s a play on words, with the word ‘punch’. Okay? And the punchline packs a bit of a punch for jokes, usually.


So, today’s expression comes from Gilson who follows me on Instagram and he sent me a message asking about this expression, and I said, “You know what? I’ll make this an episode for the podcast this week.”. So, big thanks to Gilson for this awesome suggestion. And remember guys, if you want to follow me on Instagram it’s just Aussie English, just do a search for that.

So, let’s go through the definitions of the words in today’s expression to pack a punch, to pack a punch. So, this is pretty simple. We’ve only really got two things here.


‘To pack’. ‘To pack’ can usually be to feel something, you know, like a suitcase or a bag, with your clothes or other items that you need in order to travel. So, before you go on a holiday, you have to pack. You have to pack your things. But in this case, it’s more to comprise something to be made of something. So, if something packs something, it’s usually that it has that with in it. Right? So, for instance, an explosion packs… or an explosive packs a big explosion. There is a big explosion within, comprised, inside of this explosive, and so when it goes off, it packs a big explosion.

‘A punch’. ‘A punch’ is the act of hitting someone or striking someone with a closed fist, with a closed hand. So, that’s usually what a boxer does, right? If a boxer’s fighting someone, he’s punching them. But in this case, it’s more that a punch is the power to impress or attract attention. So, it has to have significant impact, to have a lot of impact. It has a lot of punch, right. So, that explosive, if it packs a really big explosion, it packs quite a big punch. It has a lot of impact, right?

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Expression Definition:

So, let’s define the expression ‘to pack a punch’. So, ‘to pack a punch’, literally, is to be capable of striking someone powerfully. You know, you might have a boxer who packs quite a punch, he packs a punch. He’s very good at punching. He has a strong powerful punch. He packs a punch.

But then by extension, to be capable of having a powerful or swift effect or impact is the figurative version of this expression, ‘to pack a punch’. So, that’s more like the explosive that we were talking about going off. If it packs a punch, it’s not that it literally hits someone, it’s that it has a powerful or swift effect or impact. Okay?


So, let’s go through three examples of how I would use the expression ‘to pack a punch’.


Alright, so first… first example. Imagine that you are a marketer working for some kind of company. So, you market their products. You create ads. Okay? Publications, advertisements. That’s your job. You want to create an ad that stands out and gets the message across to consumers, people buying your product. So, you create this ad and you publish it, and it ends up being perfect. It gets across the message that you’re trying to convey and your boss is very, very happy. He might come into the office, after you’ve created this ad and published it, and he wants to congratulate you, and he might say that advert, that ad, is so perfect it packs a punch, it packs the perfect punch. It’s a really effective. It has a lot of impact. It’s brilliant. It packs a great punch.


Example number two. Imagine you go to a nice restaurant. Maybe you want to have some spicy food. So, you go to a Mexican restaurant maybe you go to a Thai restaurant, and you love spicy food, which is sort of like me. And your friend doesn’t, okay? That could be my girlfriend. She hates spicy food. So, I imagine we’ve both gone to a Mexican or Thai restaurant, we’re sitting down, and as a joke I tell Quel, “Oh, order the enchiladas here. They’re great and they’re not really that spicy. They’re fine. You’ll be fine.”. When the food comes, she might eat it and realize that in fact the enchilada here is very spicy, and she might say, “You liar! It’s spicy as and it really packs a punch. You know that I don’t like spicy food, and this enchilada, oh my gosh, the spice in it packs a punch!”. It’s very strong. The impact is significant.


Example number three. Okay, guys. You’re a small kid at school on your first day at school, and you bump into a big kid, and he bullies you. You know, maybe he pushes you to the ground and you need to defend yourself, you need to fight back against this big kid who is bullying you. And when he tries to punch or kick you maybe you dodge it and you end up pushing him to the ground. And he realises, even though you’re so much smaller than him, you’re incredibly strong, and he might say, “For such a scrawny kid, you really can pack a punch! Even though you’re so small, you sure can pack a punch. You’re incredibly effective, you have a lot of impact, you’re strong, and I didn’t think that at first. You really pack a punch!”.

All right, guys. So, I hope you understand now the expression ‘to pack a punch’. Remember, literally, it can be capable of striking someone powerfully like a boxer. Or figuratively, it can be that you are capable, or something is capable, of having a powerful or swift effect or impact.

So, let’s go through a listen and repeat exercise, guys. We always have this in these episodes to work on your pronunciation to give you something to practice saying aloud right now to work on your English pronunciation. So, you can copy me if you would like to sound like an Australian. Otherwise, practice whatever English accent you have and just say these words after me. Okay? So, let’s go. Listen and repeat after me, guys.

Listen & Repeat:

To pack
To pack a
To pack a punch x 5

I really pack a punch
You really pack a punch
He really packs a punch
She really packs a punch
We really pack a punch
They really pack a punch
It really packs a punch

Great job, guys. Great job. And remember, if you would like to go into more depth for this pronunciation exercise as well as all the previous ones. Make sure that you enroll in the Aussie English Classroom. Remember, it’s just one dollar for your first 30 days, where you can try it. You can get used to it. You can use as much material in there as you want. The main goal is to upgrade your English as fast as possible, guys.

Aussie Fact:

So, before we finish up, let’s go through the Aussie English fact for today, guys. So, today we had in the… at the very beginning of this episode, we had a kangaroo that was effectively trying to box with a man, and the man ends up punching the kangaroo in the face to try and defend himself and the dogs.

So, where does this thing come from? Why are kangaroos synonymous with boxing? Why is this something that we see quite a lot in Australian culture?

So, the boxing kangaroo is a national symbol of Australia and it’s used all the time in popular culture. It’s often seen as a flag with a yellow kangaroo and red boxing gloves on a green background, and you’re likely to see this really distinctive flag featured at sporting events all around Australia as well as overseas. So, it’ll usually be a symbol that Aussies will use, Aussie spectators, at these sporting events, things like cricket, tennis, basketball, or soccer, when they’re international sports. When it’s Australia vs. another country, as opposed to say, teams that are both from Australia. So, things like the Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games. You’ll often see the boxing kangaroo flag.

So, a little bit about the history of this the idea of the boxing Kangaroo originates from a natural behavior of male kangaroos who are often referred to as ‘bucks’. And FYI, for your information, females are referred to as ‘does’, and young kangaroos are called ‘joeys’. Okay?

So, kangaroos have really interesting breeding behaviour and social structures. Large groups of kangaroos are referred to as ‘mobs’, and this is why Aussies often call a large group of people ‘a mob’. You might say, ‘hey, you mob!’. And these mobs can range from a handful of members of these kangaroos up to a hundred or more kangaroos. So, the mobs can get quite large.

Kangaroo bucks box in order to establish dominance as the most dominant male leads the mob and often has exclusive access to females for mating. So, he’s the one who gets to father all the joeys, at least theoretically. Given the chance, subordinate males, the ones who aren’t dominant, will often mate with receptive females pulling a fast one on the dominant males who are probably pretty busy mating with the numerous other females in their mob. So, it’s not always that effective being the dominant male.

When boxing male kangaroos use their smaller four legs, so their arms, to hold onto the attacker’s head and neck whilst they use the claws on their larger more powerful hind legs to kick, slash, or even disembowel their opponent whilst supporting themselves on their thick muscular tail. So, they actually use that tail to support themselves and hold themselves off the ground in order to kick.

So, the stance resembles that of a boxer when they’re doing this, and you can see this on YouTube in this video, right? When they’re fighting they actually look like a human boxer.

So, if you watch any kangaroo doco, you’ll probably see joeys start boxing from a really young age, and they tend to do this in order to develop their fighting skills and give them the best chance at one day being a dominant male, at least for a short period of time, and passing on their genes to the next generation.

So, what about people boxing kangaroos? Have you guys seen this? This was actually a thing in the past. This used to happen. And it seems like it only took colonists a little over a hundred years from when they colonised Australia in 1788 to realise that kangaroos could be trained to box humans, to fight humans, and that this could be used as a source of entertainment for Outback travelling shows, and this started occurring in the late 1800s, so in the 19th century.

In 1895, a German silent film was actually made about fighting kangaroos and this was made by Max Skladanowski, and was called Das Boxende Känguruh. Christine, you’ll have to let me know if I have pronounced that correctly in German. And an English silent film by Bert Acres was made the following year.

So, since these first silent film era movies were made, at least four other movies have been made as well about humans boxing kangaroos, and this symbol has only continued to become more prominent since that period of time.

During the World War Two, boxing kangaroos were stenciled onto Australian fighter aircraft and navy ships. And in 1983, the characteristic green, red, and yellow flag that I mentioned earlier was created by a sailing team on the Australia II yacht in the America’s Cup, and this flag has since skyrocketed into common use by rabid Aussie sporting fans all over the world.

Anyway guys, I hope you enjoy that episode. I hope that teaches you a bit about biology of kangaroos, a bit about Australian history, a bit about the crazy practice of boxing with kangaroos in the past. That’s absolutely insane. And yeah, I hope that you check this episode out in the Aussie English Classroom, guys. I think there’ll be a lot of awesome bonus content to help you skyrocket your English.

Anyway, thanks for hanging around today, guys. I hope you have an amazing weekend and I’ll chat to you soon.

Peace out, guys.

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