verb (used without object)
- to strike a sounding blow with the fist, knuckles, or anything hard, especially on a door, window, or the like, as in seeking admittance, calling attention, or giving a signal: to knock on the door before entering.
- to strike in collision; bump: He knocked into a table.
- to make a pounding noise: The engine of our car is knocking badly.
- Informal. to engage in trivial or carping criticism; find fault.
- Cards. to end a game, as in gin rummy, by laying down a hand in which those cards not included in sets total less than a specific amount.
verb (used with object)
- to give a sounding or forcible blow to; hit; strike; beat.
- to drive, force, or render by a blow or blows: to knock a man senseless.
- to make by striking a blow or blows: to knock a hole in the wall.
- to strike (a thing) against something else.
- Informal. to criticize, especially in a carping manner: He’s always knocking everything.
- British Slang. to astound; impress greatly.
- an act or instance of knocking.
- the sound of knocking, especially a rap, as at a door.
- a blow or thump.
- Informal. an adverse criticism.
- the noise resulting from faulty combustion or from incorrect functioning of some part of an internal-combustion engine.
- Cricket. an innings.
- British Slang.
- one of a combination of dealers who bid together, rather than against each other, at an auction, and later resell the purchases among themselves.
- an auction at which this is done.
- the sale of merchandise recently obtained by a dealer at an auction.
- knock around/about, Informal.
- to wander aimlessly or idly; loaf.
- to mistreat (someone), especially physically.
- to jar; shake up.
- knock back, Slang. to drink (a beverage), especially quickly and heartily: He knocked back two shots of vodka.
- knock down,
- to sell at auction by a blow of the hammer or to a bidder.
- to take apart or disassemble, as for facility in handling, storing, shipping, etc.
- Slang.to receive, as a salary or a scholastic grade; earn: He knocks down 30 grand a year.
- Informal.to lower the price of; reduce: to knock down end-of-season leftovers.
- Slang.to embezzle or steal (money).
- to cause (a sailing vessel) to heel, as by a gust of wind, to such a degree that it cannot right itself.
- knock off,
- Informal.to cease activity, especially work: to knock off at five every day.
- to stop doing something; quit: Knock it off or you’ll get into a mess.
- Slang.to dispose of; finish.
- Slang.to murder; kill.
- Slang.to die.
- Slang.to get rid of; reduce.
- Slang.to disable or defeat.
- Slang.to commit a robbery at; steal from: The gang knocked off a gas station.
- Nautical Slang.to blow the head (of a sailing vessel) off the wind.
- to imitate, copy, or plagiarize: to knock off designer dresses in cheap materials.
- knock out,
- to defeat (an opponent) in a boxing match by striking such a blow that the opponent is unable to rise within the specified time.
- to render (a person) unconscious: Those sleeping pills knocked me out for ten hours.
- to make tired or exhausted: Christmas shopping always knocks me out.
- Informal.to produce quickly, hurriedly, or with ease: He knocks out two poems a day.
- to damage or destroy: The explosion knocked out the power for several hours.
- knock(def 28).
- knock over,
- to strike (someone or something) from an erect to a prone position: to knock over a lamp.
- to distress; overcome: When the announcement came we were completely knocked over.
- Slang.to rob, burglarize, or hijack: He knocked over five banks.
- knock together, to make or construct in a hurry or with little attention to detail: He knocked together a couple of tables.
- knock up,
- Slang.to make pregnant.
- to exhaust; weary; tire.
- to damage; mar: The children knocked up the new table.
- to injure; wound: He was afraid to come home from school all knocked up again.
- British.to wake up; rouse; call: He knocked us up before dawn.
- have it knocked, Slang. to be assured of success: With a government job, he thought he had it knocked.
- knock out of the box, Baseball. to cause a pitcher to be removed from the box because the pitcher has permitted too many hits to be made.Also knock out.
- knock the/one’s socks off, Informal. to have an overwhelming effect on: The song knocked the socks off the audience.
- (intr, adverb) to wander about aimlessly
- (intr, preposition) to travel about, esp as resulting in varied or exotic experiencehe’s knocked about the world a bit
- (intr, adverb foll by with) to associateto knock about with a gang
- (tr, adverb) to treat brutallyhe knocks his wife about
- (tr, adverb) to consider or discuss informallyto knock an idea about
- a sailing vessel, usually sloop-rigged, without a bowsprit and with a single jib
- rough; boisterousknockabout farce
- (tr) to give a blow or push to; strike
- (intr) to rap sharply with the knuckles, a hard object, etc, esp to capture attentionto knock at the door
- (tr) to make or force by strikingto knock a hole in the wall
- (intr usually foll by against) to collide (with)
- (tr) to bring into a certain condition by hitting or pushingto knock someone unconscious
- (tr) informal to criticize adversely; belittleto knock someone’s work
- Also: pink (intr) (of an internal-combustion engine) to emit a characteristic metallic noise as a result of faulty combustion
- (intr) (of a bearing, esp one in an engine) to emit a regular characteristic sound as a result of wear
- British slang to have sexual intercourse with (a person)
- knock a person into the middle of next week informal to hit a person with a very heavy blow
- knock one’s head against to have a violent or unpleasant encounter with (adverse facts or circumstances)
- knock on the head
- to daze or kill (a person) by striking on the head
- effectively to prevent the further development of (a plan)
- a blow, push, or raphe gave the table a knock
- the sound so caused
- the sound of knocking in an engine or bearing
- informal a misfortune, rebuff, or setback
- informal unfavourable criticism
- informal (in cricket) an innings or a spell of batting
Old English cnocian (West Saxon cnucian), “to pound, beat; knock (on a door),” likely of imitative origin. Meaning “deprecate, put down” is from 1892. Related: Knocked; knocking. Knock-kneed first attested 1774. Knock-down, drag-out is from 1827. Command knock it off “stop it” is first recorded 1880, perhaps from auctioneer’s term for “dispose of quickly:”
At the commencement of the sales, he gave every one that wanted to purchase a paper containing a description of the lands that were to be sold; and, as the sales were cried, he called over the numbers and described the land; and when it got up to one dollar and a quarter an acre, if no body bid, after it was cried two or three times, he would say, knock it off, knock it off. [U.S. Senate record, 1834]
mid-14c., from knock (v.). As an engine noise, from 1899.
Also, knock around.
Be rough or brutal with, maltreat, as in He was known to knock his wife about on a regular basis. [c. 1800]
Wander from place to place, as in They were knocking around Europe all summer. [Colloquial; c. 1830]
Discuss or consider, as in They met to knock about some new ideas. [Mid-1900s] Also see kick around.
In addition to the idioms beginning with knock
- knock about
- knock back
- knock cold
- knock dead
- knock down
- knock down with a feather
- knock for a loop
- knock into a cocked hat
- knock it off
- knock off
- knock oneself out
- knock on wood
- knock out
- knock over
- knock over with a feather
- knock someone’s block off
- knock someone’s socks off
- knock the bottom out of
- knock the living daylights out of
- knock the socks off
- knock together
- knock up
- beat (knock) into someone’s head
- beat (knock) the living daylights out of
- (knock) down to size
- (knock) off someone’s feet
- school of hard knocks