Green’s Dictionary of Slang

knock v.

1. in senses of lit. or fig. aggression.

(a) [late 16C+] to have sexual intercourse.

(b) [mid-18C+] (UK Und.) to rob, to steal; thus (late 18C) knock the lobb, breaking and entering.

(c) [mid-19C–1900s] to excel, to surpass [subseq. uses are SE].

(d) [mid-19C+] (US/Aus.) to kill, to shoot dead.

(e) [mid-19C+] to destroy, to defeat.

(f) [late 19C] (Aus.) in sexual context, to overcome, to ‘bowl over’.

(g) [1910s+] to cheat, to defraud, esp. to obtain credit which one has no intention of honouring.

(h) [1920s+] to hit; to fight.

(i) [1940s+] (US) to arrest.

2. in senses of lit. or fig. communication.

(a) [early 17C; mid-19C+] (orig. US, also give the knock) to disparage, to criticize.

(b) [late 19C+] (US) to complain, to inform on, to betray.

(c) [late 19C+] (US) to explain; esp. to explain to a confidence trickster’s victim that he is being swindled.

(d) [1920s+] (Aus.) to flirt with a woman.

(e) [1940s] (US black) to speak.

(f) [1940s–70s] (US black) to borrow; to ask for.

(g) [1960s] (US black) to write.

3. in fig. senses, to arouse the emotions.

(a) [18C+] to strike with astonishment, alarm or confusion, to confound.

(b) [mid-19C+] to impress highly, to elicit great admiration, to make a big impression, esp. of new fashions, entertainments.

4. [late 19C+] (US black) to give, to do, to perform.

5. [1920s–50s] (US black) to consume.

6. [1910s–20s] (Aus.) to give in; to be exhausted [abbr. SE knock under].

7. [1940s–70s] (US) to earn.

Meaning to defeat or beat, or to astound

In phrases

knock acock (v.) [note SE acock, defiantly]

[19C] to amaze, to shock, to ‘knock sideways’.

knock all to rags (v.)

[late 19C] (US) to knock senseless.

knock cats out of (v.)

[1900s] (Aus.) to berate.

knock cold (v.) (also knock cold as a monkey-wrench, knock dead)

1. to knock unconscious, to wipe out.

2. [mid-19C] (also kill dead) to astound, to amaze.

3. [late 19C+] to complete or dispose of something easily or quickly.

knock endways (v.) (also knock endwise, knock sky-wise and crooked)

[mid-19C–1930s] to astound, to astonish, to shock profoundly, to overturn.

knock for a Burton (v.)

[1940s+] to destroy.

knock for a loop (v.) (also knock for a dingdong, ...ghoul, ...goal, ...gool, ...home run, ...trip, ...two-bagger, ...the loop, knock in a fit) [one is fig. knocked ‘head-over-heels’]

[20C+] to astound, to astonish, to devastate; also throw for a loop under loop n.2

knock for a row of... (v.) (also ...ashcans, ...flat tires, ...latrines, ...Mongolian whipped cream containers, ...Portuguese flower pots, ...red-headed Riffians, ...shanties, ...shitcans, ...silos, ...sour apple trees, ...stars, ...tent pegs, ...totem poles) [1910s+] (US/N.Z.)

1. to hit or knock someone senseless.

2. (also knock for a row) to impress or amaze.

knock hell out of (v.)

see under hell n.

knock rotten (v.)

[1910s+] (Aus.) to kill, to stun.

knock saucepans out of (v.) (also knock smoke out of)(Aus.)

1. [mid-19C–1900s] to attack aggressively.

2. [1950s] to overcome completely.

knock seven bells out of (v.)

see under bell n.1

knock slops off (v.)

[1900s] (Aus.) to beat thoroughly.

knock someone bandy (v.)

[late 19C+] to astound, to stun with a blow.

knock someone’s block off (v.)

see under block n.1

knock someone’s eye out (v.)

see under eye n.

knock someone’s hat off (v.)

see under hat n.

knock the corners off (v.) (N.Z.)

1. [20C+] to punish violently.

2. [1960s+] to civilize someone.

knock the crap out of (v.)

see under crap n.1

knock the ears off (v.)

see under ears n.

knock the hindsights off (v.) (also knock the hindsights out of) [? SE hindsight, the backsight of a rifle]

[19C] (US) to deal a heavy blow to, to beat up, to defeat.

knock the jive out of (v.)

see under jive n.1

knock the (living) daylights out of (v.)

see under daylights n.

knock the piss out of (v.)

see under piss n.

knock the shit out of (v.)

see under shit n.

knock the socks off (v.) (orig. US)

1. [mid-19C+] (also kick the socks off) to defeat comprehensively.

2. [1930s+] to cause serious problems for, to defeat fig.; to have an intense effect upon.

3. [1930s+] (also blow someone out of their socks, blow the socks off, steam the socks off) to astound, to amaze.

knock the tar out of (v.)

see under tar n.3

knock the wool out of one’s head (v.)

see under wool n.1

General uses

In phrases

get knocked (v.) [1930s+] (Aus.)

1. to suffer a setback, a disappointment or defeat.

2. to be killed.

knock a drill (v.)

[1940s] (US black) to leave, to walk.

knock a statue act (v.)

[1940s–60s] (orig. US black) to wait.

knock a stroll (v.)

[1940s] (US black) to (take a) walk.

knock a trot (v.)

[1940s] (US black) to escape, run away.

knock dog (v.) [the image of lying around like a dog ]

[20C+] (W.I.) to idle, to do nothing.

knock fowl soup (v.)

[1950s] (US black) to die.

knock it out of the box (v.) [knock v. + box n.1 ]

[2000s] (US black) to have sexual intercourse.

knock like a ten-ton lorry (v.)

[2000s] of a woman, to copulate enthusiastically.

knock the back out of (v.)

see under back n.1

knock the bottom out of (v.)

[1980s] to have sexual intercourse.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

knock-round (n.) [knockabout n.]

[late 19C] a wander, an aimless progress.

knock-softly (n.)

[late 19C] a foolish weak person.

In phrases

knock about the bub (v.)

see under bub n.1

knock across (v.) (also knock against)

[late 19C–1920s] to encounter, to meet.

knock along (v.) [mid-19C+]

1. (orig. Aus.) to idle; to wander, to travel around rather than settle down.

2. to manage, to subsist.

knock at the door (v.) [? to regain admission to sobriety]

[1930s–70s] (US drugs) to withdraw from narcotics use.

knock dust (v.)

[1970s] (US prison) to knock down, to beat up.

knock her dead one on the nose each and every double trey (v.)

[1940s] (US black) to get a pay cheque every sixth day (or the sixth day of every week?).

knocking them back with a stick [them are women]

[1940s+] (orig. and chiefly Aus.) a phr. used by a man who wishes to boast of the success of his sex life; usu. in answer to a question, e.g. getting any (lately)? under get v.; occas. in relation to non-sexual situations.

knock it down (v.)

[late 19C–1900s] to signify one’s approval by hammering on the table or stamping on the floor.

knock it on the head (v.) (also hit it on the head, knock it in the head) [? the final blow of a hammer that drives in a nail; McGill, Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. (2003): ‘from killing a snake’]

[early 19C+] to stop doing something, to finish a task; to bring something to an end.

knock one’s can in (v.) (also knock one’s arse in)

[late 19C+] to surprise, to worry, to confound.

knock one’s nuts out (v.)

see under nuts n.2

knock one’s wig (v.)

see under wig n.2

knock on together (v.) (also knock on with)

[1950s+] to have an affair.

knock someone’s end in (v.)

1. [late 19C–1930s] to assault, to beat up.

2. [1980s] to disconcert.

knock splinters (v.)

[late 19C] (US black) to work hard.

knock the drawing-room out of (v.) (also knock the sitting-room out of)

[2000s] (N.Z.) to toughen someone up, e.g. a new immigrant.

knock the dust off the old sombrero (v.)

[20C+] (US) to perform oral sex.

knock the end off (v.)

see under end n.

knock the pad (v.) [? SE pad, i.e. a bed]

[1940s+] (US black) to have sexual intercourse.