Green’s Dictionary of Slang

knock n.1

1. in sexual contexts.

(a) sexual intercourse [cit. 1661 comes from a lengthy sexual metaphor; the ‘Mistris’ is variously a ‘shittle-cock’, ‘nightingale’, ‘tennis-ball’ etc all of which come with their own sexual double entendre].

[UK]Nice Wanton Aiiii: Golde lockes, / She must haue knockes, / Or els I do her wronge.
[UK]Buckley ‘Oxford Libell’ Arundel Ms. II 282: In christ church some did gett a knocke.
[UK] in Florio Worlde of Wordes n.p.: Cunnuta.
[UK]Davies of Hereford Wits Bedlam Epigram 13: [A] base Whorehunter [who] with Flesh ... changed friendly knocks; And so, to shun the Plague, dyde of the Pox.
[UK]Urquhart (trans.) Rabelais III 6: Their most considerable Knocks have been already jerk’d and whirrited within the Curtains of his Sweet-heart Venus.
[UK]‘The Character of a Mistris’ in Ebsworth Merry Drollery Compleat (1875) 61: My Mistris is a Tinder-box, / Would I had such a one; / Her Steel endureth many a knock / Both by the flint and stone.
[UK]Scudamore Homer Alamode 52: My Dad renewing his old knocks, Now being ancient, got the P—.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy IV 275: Jane Shore, met King Edward, and gave him Knock for Knock.
[UK]E. Curll Atterburyana 36: [‘Letter sent by Sir John Suckling from France’] By the French knocks, [they] have got a Pox.
[UK]Pope ‘The Capon’s Tale’ Misc. IV 61: A clean, Pains-taking Woman, / Fed numerous Poultry in her Pens, / And saw her Cocks well serve her Hens [...] Such, Lady Mary, are your Tricks; / But since you hatch, pray own your Chicks; / You should be better skill’d in Nocks, / Nor like your Capon, serve your Cocks.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 188: With his trapstick on the cock / Ready to give her a good knock.
[Aus]J. Hibberd White with Wire Wheels (1973) 225: A handy knock upstairs for one of us. A real doll too.
[UK]J. Orton Diaries (1986) 2 May 148: All I wanted was a bit of a knock with Clive.

(b) the penis.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 655: C.18–20.

(c) a prostitute or promiscuous woman; on the knock, working as a prostitute.

[Aus]W. Dick Bunch of Ratbags 158: You just didn’t do things like that; to tell your best mate that one of his family was a knock was unethical and uncalled for.
[UK]D. Bagley Spoilers i. 11: Maybe she was on the knock [OED].

(d) (Aus.) a girlfriend.

[Aus]E. Dyson Spats’ Fact’ry (1922) 26: Then it’s out for a traipse with me new knock.

2. in fig. uses.

(a) a negative opinion, a criticism, an insult.

[UK] ‘To my friend, Master Tho. St. Serf’ in Covent Garden Drollery 84: You get the Bayes, while we get only Mocks, As you got Prizes, while we got but Knocks].
[UK] ‘’Arry on Himself’ in Punch 21 Dec. in P. Marks (2006) 5: And, in course, notoriety’s nice, though it brings nasty knocks of its own.
[UK]W. Pett Ridge Minor Dialogues 169: That’s a knock at you, you see, Charrels.
S.F. Chron. 6 June 11/5: Before I can open my face he tunes up his pipes an’ hands me a knock. It makes me so hot.
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ Down the Line 50: This is not a tap on the door. Nix on the knock. It isn’t my cue to aim the hammer.
[US]Van Loan ‘The Comeback’ in Ten-Thousand-Dollar Arm 205: This last remark [...] might have been taken for a knock or a boost.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Gentlemen, the King!’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 176: He does not mean this as a knock to us.
[US]D. Runyon Runyon à la Carte 140: The chamber of commerce will disapprove of your statement as a knock to our weather, which is wonderful at all times.
[US]J. Thompson Criminal (1993) 78: Some hears a knock [...] and the deal falls through.
[UK]F. Norman Guntz 166: I could not stand for this kind of knock.
[Aus]Tracks (Aus.) Apr. 3: Unlike ‘Weed Killer’ I have had a few knocks from the local grommets [Moore 1993].
[US]J. Stahl I, Fatty 159: No knock, but Rock and Cody would drive for a week if there were a free drink at the end of it.

(b) (also knockout) a setback.

[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Otherwise Engaged’ Sporting Times 22 Mar. 1/3: This was such a nasty knock that it gave him quite a shock, / And in the local lock-up he was caged.
[US]F. Hutcheson Barkeep Stories 114: ‘It [i.e. barring certain customers] might be a knock to de joint, but I got to do somet’in’ purty soon if I don’t want to land in Kankakee’.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 17 Nov. 103: However many hard knocks Dame Fortune should have in store for me.
[US]E. O’Neill A Wife for Life in Ten ‘Lost’ Plays (1995) 6: We’ve taken out hard knocks with the imitation of a laugh.
[UK]J. Buchan Greenmantle in The Four Adventures of Richard Hannay (1930) 344: There’s been big fighting on the Eastern border, and the Buzzards have taken a bad knock.
[US]F.S. Fitzgerald This Side of Paradise in Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald III (1960) 188: You’ve got a lot of knocks coming to you.
[Aus]N. Lindsay Age Of Consent 211: This is pretty tough, letting a man suddenly in for a knock out like this.
[US]D. Runyon Runyon à la Carte 59: The D.A. claims that Rudolph is nothing but a racket guy and a greak knock to the community.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit 39: Always a nasty knock for a chap, that.
[US] in T.I. Rubin Sweet Daddy 37: I had my knocks. I been in jams and I got out of them.
[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 170: One sickening knock for the Squad.

3. in (US prison) use.

(a) a prison sentence.

[US]H. Simon ‘Prison Dict.’ in AS VIII:3 (1933) 29/1: KNOCK. Prison sentence. ’S this yer first trick? Naw, I took a knock fer a year at Joliet.

(b) the crime with which one has been charged; the crime one has committed.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 23: Rap The crime a person committed or the crime he is charged with committing. [...] (Archaic: knock).

In compounds

In phrases

call the knock (v.) [SE knock on the door]

to track down, apprehend and arrest.

[UK]Observer Mag. 14 May 19: Bill had ‘called the knock’ on many heavy-duty nasties, including a number of Turkish heroin traffickers.
do a knock with (v.) (Aus.)

1. to arrange a meeting with someone of the opposite sex.

[Aus]Coburg Leader (Vic.) 30 May 4/4: They Say [...] Who is the bloke down West that trys [sic] to do a knock with Miss B.
Brighton Southern Cross (Vic.) 16 Feb. 2/6: Well, I’m going to polish up my boots and leggins, have a shave and [...] see if I can’t do a knock with somebody’s sister and get an invite out to a Christmas dinner.
[Aus]Teleg. (Brisbane) 1 Apr. 6/1: ‘Doing a knock’ with girls, by which expression is meant the insipid courting that is the prelude to calf love.
[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl. 41: Do a knock (line) with: to take an amorous interest in a member of the opposite sex.

2. to have sexual intercourse; to kiss and cuddle.

[Aus]N. Lindsay Saturdee 167: Y’oughter seen me, the way I up and done a knock as easy as sittin’ here. By jings I was the one. Here’s me, sittin’ up with me arm round her [...] and here’s me sayin’ ‘How’s it up for a kiss? [Ibid.] 217: He’s done a knock with her.
get the knock (v.)

to receive punishment .

[UK]Sporting Times 15 Mar. 1/5: They must beware of running off with Lydia’s knocker, or they will get ‘the knock’ from [...] the beak.
H. Champion ‘I’m Proud of My Old Bald Head’ [monologue] I never get the knock — I’m a jolly old cock.
give the knock to (v.)

1. to knock down.

[UK]Kipling ‘Snarleyow’ in Barrack-Room Ballads (1893) 176: When a tricky, trundlin’ roundshot give the knock to Snarleyow.

2. to disconcert, to irritate.

[UK]Newcastle Courant 18 Nov. 5/2: It gives me the fair knock, palaverin’ with a woman.
[UK]H. Champion ‘On Top’ [lyrics] But we couldn’t get in when we got to the door, / And it fair gave me the ‘knock’.
go the knock on (v.)

(Aus.) to steal.

[Aus]D. Niland Big Smoke 202: That’s when I see this fly-blown old fowlhouse going the knock on my money.
put in the knock (v.)

(US) to reject, to refuse.

[US]G. Bronson-Howard God’s Man 203: She put in the knock when we offered her fifty-fifty to let us take that Spedden guy.
put the knock on (v.) (also put the knocks in)

to disparage, to criticize.

[US]M. West Babe Gordon (1934) 121: Charlie puts the knocks in against me with the Bearcat.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 99: George never put the knock on anyone.
[US]E. Torres Q&A 155: Don’t put the knock on the gay freak squad.
take the knock (v.)

1. to suffer financial losses, often in gambling.

[UK]Sporting Times 15 Nov. 1/3: The following new books are now in the press [...] ‘The Knock, and How to Take It’.
[UK]Bird o’ Freedom 22 Jan. 7: If you did take the knock, and had neglected to provide yourself with the harmless return ticket, you were indeed an outcast.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 5 May 6/2: Another youth [...] expressed a dtermination to take holy orders at once; he is more likely to take the knock.
[UK]Binstead & Wells Pink ’Un and Pelican 265: George’s got the knock at racin’, he has.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 30 Oct. 1/1: A well-known punter of Perth took the ignominious knock last Monday [and] having owed a large sum to a local bookie he settled with a stumer.
[UK]Wipers Times 6 Mar. (2006) 27/2: A celebrated firm of commission agents took the knock.
[UK]P. Cheyney Don’t Get Me Wrong (1956) 90: Ever since repeal the gangs have been takin’ the knock one after the other.
[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxv 6/3: knock, take the: To fail to pay one’s debts usually to a bookie.
[UK]P. Larkin ‘Livings’ in High Windows 13: Who makes ends meet, who’s taking the knock, / Government tariffs, wages, price of stock.

2. to suffer an unpleasant surprise.

[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘The Victimless Villain’ Sporting Times 3 Mar. 1/4: He’d struck a wrong scent, and had taken the knock; / And he felt, to his nerves ’twas a terrible shock, / The well-known finger-nails of his ancient Dutch clock.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘’Ave a ’Eart!’ in Rose of Spadgers 73: There ain’t no call fer you to go an’ chuck / A man about when ’e ’as took the knock.

3. of a bookmaker, to be defrauded.

[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 40: Three of the cheeriest johnnies that ever took the knock across the rails of a members’ enclosure.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘The Amateur Gardener’ in Three Elephant Power 65: When the bookmaker ‘took the knock’ [...] it was his pleasing custom to move without giving notice.

4. (Aus.) to suffer a rejection.

[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 22 Feb. 2/4: He ‘took the knock’ to a good old tune when [...] she really loved another.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 28 Oct. 1/2: The game ’ad got, I thort, the knock, / And millin’ ’ad gone outer date.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 21 Aug. 4/8: Westralia’s name is mud, / Since Forrest Took the Knock.

5. of a bookmaker or bettor, to refuse or escape paying a due debt.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 6 Mar. 2nd sect. 10/6: A certain English ‘captain’ who took the knock on one or two of our well-known bookmakers, and finally cleared back to Engband.
[Aus]G.H. Lawson Dict. of Aus. Words And Terms [Internet] TAKING THE KNOCK--To avoid payment.
[Aus]Newcastle Sun (NSW) 27 May 7/4: S.P. Glossary [...] Taking the knock — Refusing to honour betting obligations, welching.
[Aus]L. Glassop Lucky Palmer 77: What’s certain is we can’t pay, but we can’t take the knock because this bloke’s a copper.
[Aus]R. Aven-Bray Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 31: Holly Hock (Take The Knock) Refuse to pay a debt.

6. (orig. US) to accept the blame.

[UK]V. Davis Phenomena in Crime 111: An inducement to ‘take the knock’ (accept the blame) in the case of fine or imprisonment.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 219/1: Take the knock. 1. To plead guilty to a crime; to accept full guilt in order to exonerate others. [...] 2. To surrender and accept an arrest without resisting or attempting to flee. 3. To accept a loss or a reverse and retire without protest or complaint.

7. to be overcome by drink or drugs.

[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 20: For a big fella, I don’t half take the knock easy when it comes to the demon drink.