1. a drinking spree.
|Charcoal Sketches (1865) 175: The protegé, who longed to indulge himself in that which he classically termed a ‘knock-around,’ took his allies Diggs, Swiggs, and Twiggs with him.|
2. (Aus.) a tramp, a vagrant.
|Bulletin (Sydney) 12 May 13/3: He went through hard times in Queensland and N.S.W. as the typical knockabout. He tramped for work, and was glad of a job at tailing cattle or felling trees.|
|Sun. Times (Perth) 11 Feb. 1/1: A knockabout nearly suffered transportation to eternity t’otherday.|
|Western Mail (Perth) 12 Oct. 10/4: In blankets the blue and grey colours were most favoured by knockabouts, which explains ‘bluey’.|
|Boss Drover 46: The late Jimmy McAdam who was an old-time mailman, stationhand and general knockabout.|
|Bonfire of the Vanities 40: Forty thousand incompetents, dimwits, alcoholics, psychopaths, knockabouts.|
|Chopper From The Inside 48: A young criminal and knockabout not much older than myself.|
|(con. 1930s) Dublin Tenement Life 166: Knockabouts would come into the halls and sleep on the stairs and all the tenants would bring them out a cup of tea in the morning.|
|in N.Y. Rev. of Books 17 Apr. 52/4: Hicks was an Australian knockabout who was picked up in Afghanistan.|
3. (Aus.) a layabout, a low criminal or idler.
|Sporting Times 4 Jan. 6: Right behind him, a pair of knockabouts were pounding each other to a jelly.|
|Foveaux 312: If Neicie’s husband had been a ‘knockabout’, Cury could have dealt with him according to the unwritten rules of his own circle.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 26 Apr. 44: A knock-about (or knockaround) is what the British might call a lay-about.|
|(con. 1930s) Dublin Street Life and Lore 85: Hoggers was men looking for a free drink [...] They were knockabouts.|
|Chopper 4 8: A well-known knockabout would-be [...] gangster.|
4. (W.I.) the lowest type of prostitute.
|Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.|
5. a social ‘jack-of all trades’, a ‘regular chap’.
|Dubliners (1956) 129: I admire the man personally. He’s just an ordinary knockabout like you or me. He’s fond of his glass of grog and he’s a bit of a rake, perhaps, and he’s a good sportsman.‘Ivy Day in the Committee Room’|
|Dict. Amer. Sl. 28: knockabout. Fit for rough wear, as a knockabout suit. A slapstick comedian. A roustabout, man of all work.|
|Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 10: The knockabout from the West had his curiosity aroused.|
|How to Shoot Friends 44: He was also just a bloody good bloke, an honest knockabout who could deal with anyone from pickpockets to prime ministers.|
6. see knockabout man n. (1)