Word of the Day


Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


a severe defeat, especially in a game

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun pasting comes from a sense of the verb ‘to paste’ meaning to beat or hit hard, with the addition of the suffix -ing. It was first used in the middle of the 19th century.


This headline in the Guardian caught my eye last week:

UK takes a pasting from world’s press over coronavirus crisis

The most frequently used meaning of the noun pasting these days is the one that comes first in the Macmillan Dictionary entry, the act of moving words or pictures on a computer screen from one place to another. The informal meaning of a metaphorical beating has a slightly old-fashioned air and the root verb ‘paste’ is not much used with this meaning nowadays. It is common for words of this type to be used with both physical and metaphorical meanings: other examples include a hammering, a hiding, a pounding, a whipping, a thrashing and, of course, a beating. You may be able to think of some others. You can explore these meanings in the thesaurus entry for ‘A defeat in a game or competition‘.


It is in no doubt that the government took a pasting in the House of Lords’ debate on Monday this week.
(enTenTen15 corpus)

“He acted like a personal bodyguard for the rest of the tour, saving me from a pasting in the depths of dark hip-hop clubs several times.
(enTenTen15 corpus)

“Four of their last five victories have come against teams with RPIs higher than 230 including last week’s pastings of Western Michigan and Troy.”
(enTenTen15 corpus)

Related words

drubbing, licking, hammering, hiding, whipping

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

Leave a Comment