Walloping, belting and clobbering: verbs for touching and hitting (2)

a baseball player in a striped outfit hitting a baseball forcefully with a bat
Randy Faris/The Image Bank/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

My last post looked at a range of verbs to talk about touching and hitting in a variety of contexts. This post focuses on hitting things and people with force.

If you cannon into someone or something, you hit it hard and at speed, while if something cannons off (UK), caroms off (US), or glances off another thing, it hits that thing and bounces back at an angle:

Anna ran down the corridor and almost cannoned into her boss.

Fortunately, the bullet glanced off the buckle of his belt.

If you bump into something or someone, you hit them hard with your body, while if you catch a part of your body on something, you hit your body against it. Both of these verbs commonly describe accidental actions:

I bumped into the table and spilled the soup.

He caught his head on an overhanging branch.

There are many verbs for deliberately hitting someone or something hard. Wallop, thump and bash, which are all slightly informal, may be used for violent actions, but are used in other contexts too:

He walloped the ball to the back of the court.

She thumped her fist on the table.

The dolphins were bashing the water with their tails.

If you beat someone up, you hit or kick them many times and hurt them badly. Battering and pounding something or someone also involve hitting them many times, while whacking implies that the hitting makes a noise:

He was jailed for beating up a man outside a stadium.

Wind battered the outside of the buildings.

She pounded on the door until they let her in.

He hung up the rug and whacked it with a brush.

There are several informal verbs for deliberately hitting someone or something hard, including clout, belt, and deck:

The boxer clouted his opponent round the head.

I’ll belt you if you do that again.

The man walked up to Lewis and decked him.

Strike tends to be used in more formal situations, as does raise a hand to, which is usually found in negative sentences:

She had been struck on the head with a heavy object.

I never raised my hand to them.

Finally, if you swipe something or swipe at something, you hit or try to hit it with a sideways action, while if you swing at someone, you try to hit them, in a rather uncontrolled manner.

She ran around, swiping at the wasps.

Suddenly, he started swinging at me.

Do you have this many words for hitting and touching in your language?

2 thoughts on “Walloping, belting and clobbering: verbs for touching and hitting (2)

  1. Anselmo

    Wonderful, after reading it, i came up with a conclusion..that i thought i knew a lot of the english language…but actually i i know so little.

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