What Does "Punching" Mean in the U.K.? Breaking Down the Popular 'Love Island' Term

Shannon Raphael - Author

Aug. 16 2022, Published 10:22 a.m. ET

'Love Island U.K.'
Source: Instagram

Spoiler Alert: This article contains minor spoilers for Season 8 of Love Island U.K.

Since it was rebooted in 2015, Love Island U.K.has introduced fans to a whole dictionary of terms about love and dating. While phrases and words like "type on paper," "good chat," and "banter" are easy enough to figure out, there are other slang terms from the show that are less clear for viewers outside of the U.K. to decipher.

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On one episode of Love Island U.K. Season 8, contestant Luca Bish got in a small tiff with fellow islander Paige Thorne about who was "punching" in his relationship with Gemma Owen.

Though stateside viewers got the general gist of what the conversation was about, they may be wondering what exactly it means when someone is "punching" in their relationship.

Source: Getty Images

Michelle Keegan and Mark Wright.

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Several of the 'Love Island U.K.' Season 8 islanders had a heated chat about who was "punching" on the show.

On the 57th episode of Love Island U.K. Season 8, Luca, Paige, and Paige's partner, Adam Collard, got into a bit of a debate about who would be "punching" in the various relationships in the villa.

Luca started the chat off by discussing the marriage between former soccer player Mark Wright and his wife, actress Michelle Keegan. The fishmonger said that Mark was "punching" in the relationship. The islanders then began to discuss their co-stars.

"You're punching," Paige told Luca about his relationship with Gemma. Luca disagreed with the paramedic, and the various contestants continued to chat about who was "punching" in the remaining couples.

After the episode aired in the United Kingdom, Mark Wright took to Twitter to jokingly share his thoughts on the matter.

"8:30 a.m. in Sydney…. minding my own business (literally sleeping)," he wrote alongside a photo of him in bed. "Waking up like.... What did I do? #Luca."

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As the reality stars on Love Island U.K. bantered about the rest of the pairs on the show, some viewers outside of the U.K. were still confused about what exactly punching meant.

Source: Instagram

Luca Bish and Gemma Owen.

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What does punching mean in the U.K.'? The term is often mentioned on 'Love Island.'

For viewers who aren't as familiar with what "punching" means, the word has is in reference to the boxing term "punching above your weight." In boxing, when a person tries to fight someone above their weight class, it often is a losing battle.

In the relationship/Love Island U.K. universes, when someone is "punching" in their relationship, it means that their partner could be seen as more attractive, as a better catch, or as someone who is "out of their league."

In the U.S., one phrase that is similar to "punching" is "out-kicking your coverage." As punching relates to boxing, "out-kicking your coverage" is also a sports reference to football.

The islanders on any edition of Love Island often discuss looks, attraction, and "ticking boxes," so it's not a total surprise that the Season 8 stars ultimately had a big talk about who was a better catch in each of the remaining duos.

Episodes of Love Island U.K. Season 8 are available to stream on Hulu now.

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