can't punch one's way out of a paper bag

Idioms & Phrases

can't punch one's way out of a paper bag

Be inept, as in Ask him to program the VCR? He can't punch his way out of a paper bag. This hyperbolic term for extreme ineptitude originally was an expression of contempt for a weak or cowardly boxer. [Slang; c. 1910]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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