When somebody wants to humiliate or show someone else who's the boss, they give them a bitch slap. Someone being cheeky? Slap! A snarker failed to sneak a jab past their target? Slap! Someone is pissed and wants total ownage of their enemy? Slap! A villain is gloating and sending him a message with a fist is too unsophisticated? SLAP!!! As one can tell, this is the one slap that people do not want to be on the receiving end of, because it hurts their ego/feelings far more than anything. Most of the time it's done with the palm of one's hand, but it can also be done with the back of one's hand (which is called a "pimp slap").
This is often a favorite move done by villains and cocky fighters to disgrace others. It gets less awesome and more creepy if the villain does it to a bound victim, especially if there are sexual undertones. On the flipside, The Hero will most likely deliver one if they are royally pissed and want to bring the villain or resident Jerkass down a notch. Trolls and other pranksters will just do it for shits 'n giggles.
More often than not, however, this is Played for Drama. Usually one of the characters is way more powerful than the other; not in terms of superpowers or physical strength but in actual power (a top politician, businessman, crime lord, parent, etc.), and the slap highlights it. Either of the characters is speaking ill, or perhaps even insulting, the other, and then the slap silences the speech. For at least a moment, everyone will be shocked and fall into Stunned Silence. If there was a soundtrack, it will halt as well. The meaning depends of the power comparison: if the slap is made by the weaker character it works like a Defiant Stone Throw; if it is made by the stronger one it works like a Kick the Dog moment.
Expect a lot of hype when someone successfully pulls it off at the right moment. Even more so if a weaker person managed to bitch-slap someone who is above them in terms of power as they just slapped Cthulhu in the face, regardless if they live to tell the tale or not. But on the other hand, it can be an utterly disrespectful move when it's done to the undeserving as it's a degrading action.
Compare Armor-Piercing Slap when someone who is far weaker managed to turn the head of a superhuman. Compare/Contrast to Dope Slap when the victim is being a moron, ditz or just plain silly and gets a slap to the back of the head to reel them in. Compare Get A Hold Of Yourself Man, when the slap is used to put an halt to some chaotic behavior.
- Alice uses People Puppets traps to make it seem as if she's teleporting around Dinoponera and then slaps her to the floor before declaring she'll kill anyone who threatens her life or gets in the way of the truth behind her mother's death. Doubles as a Armor-Piercing Slap, as Dinoponera was practically unfazed and unhurt by most other attacks up to this point.
- An apparently cornered Kuramoto suddenly slaps Sara in the face, angry that she's keeping up her smug facade as the supposed Army Ant Queen while both of them are alone.
- Berserk. Doubles as a Armor-Piercing Slap as well. But after Rickert realizes that Guts was right about all the shit Griffith pulled, he angrily slaps him over the atrocities he committed for the sake of his ambitions. Regardless of how graceful he may be, that is still something that will leave a mark on his ego.
- Digimon Adventure: In the fight between Angewomon and Ladydevimon, the two engage in a cat fight where they slapped each other hard repeatedly. The Digidestined were a bit perturbed by the sight (though Hikari was cheering for Angewomon to slap the shit out of Ladydevimon).
- Dragon Ball Z:
- After Frieza kills Krillin and angers Goku enough to turn Super Saiyan. Part of the Humiliation Conga package is getting a rapid fire bitch/pimp slap combo. Since Goku wants to break Frieza mentally and manages to do so to the point where he is far less sane after he was revived by the dragon balls, it's safe to say it got the job done.
- Goku himself is on the receiving end of one after he gets bound to a mountain by Majin Vegeta, since Vegeta wanted to make Goku understand the humiliation he feels from being in his shadow.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena: Anthy is on the receiving end of this multiple times during the story, typically courtesy of Nanami and her posse. Her close relationship to the student council (particularly Nanami's brother, Touga) and Extreme Doormat tendencies made her an easy target.
- Hank Pym, about to be court martialed and removed from The Avengers, was creating an undefeatable robot to attack the team. The robot would be vulnerable to his stings, allowing him to seemingly "save the day". His wife, the Wasp, tried to make him gave up the idea; but he slapped her and continued with the plan. It worked awfully and everything came to light. He was removed from the team, and the wasp got divorced from him.
- There's a picture of Batman slapping his protege Robin in mid-conversation. Taken from a comic book published in 1965, the single-panel illustration has inspired a series of parodies featuring custom-captioned speech bubbles on 4chan, Reddit and elsewhere since 2008, explained with details by Know Your Meme here.
- During the climax of The Return of Barry Allen, Wally West backhands Eobard Thawne in this manner while issuing a brutal "The Reason You Suck" Speech to him (Thawne had been masquerading as a revived Barry Allen, who was dead at the time).
- Back to the Future Part II: In Alternate!1985, Biff slaps Lorraine when tries to mouth off at him, causing her to admit defeat with an almost hypnotic flair.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Lucius suggests Voldemort to stop the battle and seek Harry Potter himself, hoping that will give him the opportunity to find his son. Voldemort has none of it and slaps him.
Lucius: I dont know.
- In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Colonel Vogel slaps Henry Jones with a glove as a way of humiliating him.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: When Elizabeth Swann is first brought aboard the Black Pearl and she attempts to begin negotiating for the pirates to stop their assault on Port Royal, Bo'sun slaps her. Captain Barbossa admonishes Bo'sun of striking Elizabeth who has invoked the right of parley.
Elizabeth: I am here to negot [is interrupted by Bo'sun's slap]
Bo'sun: You will speak when spoken to.
Captain Barbossa: [grabs Bo'sun's hand] And ye not lay a hand on those under the protection of parley.
Bo'sun: Aye, sir.
Captain Barbossa: Apologies, miss.
- Power Rangers (2017). During his first day in detention, Jason stops the resident bully from further picking on Billy by slapping him silly in front of the whole class. Later on, he has the Megazord backhand Rita Repulsa into space after Goldar's destruction.
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Eddie Valiant gets slapped by Jessica Rabbit at the crime scene of Marvin Acme's death. He thought he was slapped by her because he was staring at her boobs and smirking at her earlier, but the reason for slapping him was because he took pictures of her playing pattycake with Marvin Acme and for getting her husband framed as a murderer.
Jessica Rabbit: I hope you're proud of yourself and those pictures you took!
- In The Black Balloon (2007), Maggie slaps her son Thomas for calling his autistic brother Charlie a freak.
- In The Odd Way Home, Maya slaps Duncan for trying to drive off with the truck, even though he Does Not Drive.
- In Keep Off My Grass!, Horace slaps his son Grady and his daughter Rita when he finds out that Grady failed to keep Rita under control, so she now has the clap.
- In Superdome, football player Dave Walecki and his wife Nancy both slap each other during an argument about their failing marriage.
- In When Taekwondo Strikes, the Japanese colonizers are fond of doing this to the Koreans whose country they're occupying.
- In Ender's Game, the Small Name, Big Ego Jerkass Bonzo backhands Petra when she interrupts him, drawing blood. It's an Establishing Character Moment for them both: in contrast to Bonzo's blustering nastiness, Petra shows Nerves of Steel and doesn't react to the slap at all.
- In Ranger's Apprentice, Morgarath slaps Erak after he finds out Erak has captured Will, an apprentice to a Ranger whom Morgarath hates, and lied to him about it.
- Jaime Lannister gets pretty good at doing this after losing his sword hand and having it replaced with a prosthetic made of gold. One particular example is when he strikes Red Ronnet Connington in the mouth for mocking Brienne of Tarth.
- In both the novel and movie for Gone with the Wind, Scarlett slaps one of her slaves, Prissy, when the latter lies to her about being able to help with childbirth and for generally being a useless brat. Considering that Prissy is one of the most hated characters in the book/film for being The Load and an Ethnic Scrappy, many in the audience cheered when Scarlett slapped her.
- Better Off Ted: When confronted by Ted, Veronica's boyfriend completely humiliates Ted using an obscure slap-based martial art that apparently works via Death of a Thousand Cuts.
- Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 has one that's equally this and Dope Slap, given it's to both humiliate and reprimand (and fitting to being a combination, uses both hands): "Her face is the lunch meat, my hands are the bread. SMACKWICH!"
- Game of Thrones. Tyrion delivers some glorious ones to Joffrey. Considering he is a cowardly psychopath who caused a lot of harm to his kingdom and people, he definitely deserves them.
- In The Last Ship, Dr. Vellek tests out his new aggression-eliminating drug by repeatedly slapping his giant, muscular test subject in the face.
- Luke Cage (2016)
- In the first episode, "Moment of Truth", the crime lord Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes has Shameek, a young thug who stole a lot of money from him, captive and tied up. While asking where the rest of the money went, Cottonmouth repeatedly slaps Shameek's face—then rubs it in by saying he's not the sort of man to hit a "girl" with a closed fist. Shameek says nothing, and spits on him. Cottonmouth says, "Good. Now I can hit you like a man," and proceeds to beat Shameek to death with his bare fists.
- Luke Cage is more than capable of knocking a man unconscious when he does this.
- In the TV series The Unholy Alliance, Wai Lui does this to one of his men when he finds out that he's behind the op to steal drugs from the coffers of Ling Hung, the most powerful woman in her Triad group in Hong Kong. He also left him at the mercy of his men.
- Actor Arnaldo Andre did this frequently in the telenovela "Amo y Señor". He continued with this act in later telenovelas, but declined it when Society Marches On and public awareness of the unfortunate implications are more widely acknowledged by the public.
- In what is more of a parental retort than a bitch slap, on One Day at a Time, Julie and her mother Ann come to blows about disapproval over Julie's boyfriend. When Julie suggests that maybe Ann would rather sleep with the boy herself, she slaps Julie.
- Friends: The Show Within a Show version of Days of Our Lives has a character called "Jessica Lockheart" who's apparently famous for doing this to other characters. Her introduction sees her filming a scene where she slaps another character so hard the actress is seeing calling for ice to put on her cheek. When Monica finds out that Cecilia Monroe, who plays Jessica, is in Joey's apartment she tries to get Cecilia to slap her. Cecilia replies that her lawyers have told her not to agree to such requests anymore.
- Stephanie McMahon is very fond of dishing these out. After delivering a nasty one to The Rock, she gloated her ability to always get away with this cheap shot because most of the male roster Wouldn't Hit a Girl, let alone the wife of the WWE chairman. The Rock agrees, before bringing in Ronda Rousey, who promptly kicks her ass when she tries the same move on her. Later on, when Ronda is finally signed to the WWE, she makes sure repeatedly that Steph learns her lesson by putting her into armbars.
- MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). Nate and Nick Diaz are infamous for the "Stockton Slap". Expect fighters on the receiving end to either flip their shit or reveal how beaten they truly are if they don't immediately try and retaliate.
- In The Little Foxes, Oscar overhears his wife Birdie warning Alexandra about the Arranged Marriage planned between her and Oscar's son (and Alexandra's cousin) Leo. As Alexandra heads off to bed and Birdie, about to leave with Oscar, passes him near the doorway, he cruelly slaps her across the face. Alexandra tries to approach Birdie to see what happened to her, but she dismisses her and tells her that she only twisted her ankle.
- In Moonlight And Magnolias, producer David Selznick, writer Ben Hecht and director Victor Fleming exchange several slaps in rapid succession as they try to work out how exactly to shoot Scarlett O'Hara's slapping scene in Gone With The Wind. The three have been locked in Selznick's office together for almost three days, so the slaps also vent frustration that has reached the boiling point, getting harder and harder until the final one knocks Hecht over the couch.
- Mortal Kombat X:
- One of Cassie Cage's brutalities is a slap done as a mocking salute that spins her opponents head 180 degrees.
- Shinnok's first attack in his X-ray move is a backhand that dislocates his opponent's jaw.
- In Deadpool, the titular character bitch slaps an unconscious Wolverine after he crashed the Blackbird. At first, Deadpool did it to wake Wolverine up, but after Deadpool realized that Wolverine was not gonna wake up for a while, the player then has the choice to either slap Wolverine for a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time or just get back to playing the game immediately.
- In League of Legends, Rakan mainly attacks his enemies with his wing but if he gets within melee range, he will slap his target instead.
- In Elsword: In Eve's opening story, she was awakened from her long slumber and found herself being found by Elsword and company. He reaches his hand to her, wanting them to be friends. She bitch-slaps him instead, which shocks his teammates. (She does join, though.)
- Injustice 2: Darkseid has a fighting style consisting primarily of bitch slaps. Demonstrating how terrifyingly powerful he is, because he's putting so little effort into fighting even the likes of Superman.
- In Assassin's Creed I, Al Mualim slaps Altaïr, after Altaïr speaks out of turn, while Al Mualim is berating him for breaking the rules of the assassins.
Al Mualim: There are rules. We are nothing if we do not abide by the Assassiyun's Creed. Three simple tenets, which you seem to forget. I will remind you. First and foremost: Stay your blade
Altaïr: from the flesh of an innocent. I know.
Al Mualim: [backhands Altaïr] And stay your tongue! Unless I give you leave to use it.
- Sandra on the Rocks is an in some ways slightly old-fashioned comic about sometimes-bitchy interactions between fashion models and the like, so the bitch slap is inevitably deployed from time to time. For example:
- One of Gray's favoured tactics for putting bullies in their place in Weak Hero. When getting revenge on Bryce, he slaps him so many times that his hand ends up bloody- and he doesn't even stop there.
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Goku's fight with Frieza retains the bitch/pimp slap combo from the original series, even exaggerating it further to emphasize how completely Frieza is being dominated by Goku.
- In Kai 3.5, it condenses the "fights" between Cell, Krillin, Vegeta, and Future Trunks down to Cell giving a slap to each of them in succession.
- In the Family Guy episode "Tiegs For Two", Brian and Quagmire get into a furious brawl after their arch rivalry reaches boiling point. While both are slugging each other, Quagmire gets in one of these to demonstrate his exceptional hatred of Brian.
- In Justice League: Downpour attempts to blow out Aquaman with a torrent of water. After Aquaman points out this follynote Downpour rushes him with a few punches that do absolutely nothing to the far more physically powerful Aquaman - After an Oh, Crap! from Downpour, Aquaman finishes the fight by way of this trope; a bitchslap so hard it knocks Downpour out cold.
- Looney Tunes
- In the cartoons featuring the mice Hubie and Bertie, Hubie would repeatedly slap Bertie's face back and forth whenever he did something stupid. Often, Bertie's face would continue to go back and forth even after Hubie stopped.
- In "Bully for Bugs", Bugs Bunny slaps the bull to the tune of the Mexican Hat Dance. Toro tries to punch him back, but Bugs slaps him again before he can.
- Superman in Superman vs. the Elite does a couple of these to Manchester Black after depowering him, leading Black to think Superman is about to kill him.
- In the first sequel of The Swan Princess, Big Bad Clavius violently slaps his henchman Knuckles for having failed to kill Prince Derek with his traps. While Knuckles is much younger and bulkier than his boss, it is heavily implied the latter raised the former this way, so it is kinda justified to see a brawny fully grown man covering and shivering in front of an old and still powerless villain.