What's the meaning of "Cultural wallop" in the following sentence

  • Seldom does a nonfiction book pack the cultural wallop that Dee Brown’s “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" did in 1970.
  • After all of these years, Wharton still packs a cultural wallop.
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    I know you have already have a good answer here, but I'm curious: before asking the question, did you consult a dictionary to learn what the word wallop means? It's in every dictionary I can find. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Nov 11 '16 at 21:08
  • @P.E.Dant yeah, I searched! I dont know why I couldnt find :D – Bahar JafariZadeh Nov 12 '16 at 5:18
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    What dictionary do you use? Note: not what bilingual dictionary, but what real English dictionary? A good place to start is here. A word like this probably won't be found on a translation site. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Nov 12 '16 at 5:51

In this context, wallop is a synonym for impact. It means that something (in the case of your first example, a book) affected the culture in some profound way.

It's a rather informal way of saying it.

There's the idiom packs a punch, which means "have a powerful effect". In these cases, the writers have substituted wallop for punch – perhaps to give their words more of a wallop.

Incidentally, TFD recognizes "packs a wallop" as an alternative wording for "packs a punch".

  • A more common expression in British English would be "cultural clout". en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/clout Noun #2. "Clout" and "Wallop" have the same literal meaning (i.e. "hit") but "cultural wallop" seems like a mixed metaphor in BrE. – alephzero Nov 12 '16 at 0:08

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