Green’s Dictionary of Slang

knock over v.

1. (orig. US) to murder, to kill, orig. animals/birds.

[US]J.F. Cooper Pioneers (1827) II 213: It’s wicked to be shooting into flocks in this wastey manner; and none do it who know how to knock over a single bird.
[Ind]Delhi Sketch Bk 1 Nov. 81/2: [A] rifle having hung fire knocks over a big-bellied doe.
[US]W.H. Thomes Bushrangers 281: ‘Can’t we knock over two or three of the reptiles?’ I asked.
‘Ned Buntline’ Buffalo Bill 20: The Indians scattered far and wide, but the two men succeeded in knocking over a half-a-dozen more.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 347: Are we going to let you off after knocking over Daley? No dashed fear, mister.
[UK]G.A. Sala Things I Have Seen II 209: Aeneas [...] at once proceeded to knock over three ‘beamy stags.’.
[Aus] ‘The Wallaby Brigade’ in ‘Banjo’ Paterson Old Bush Songs 126: You’ve only to sport your dover and knock a monkey over [i.e. to kill a sheep] — There’s cheap mutton for the Wallaby Brigade.
[US] letter in K.F. Cowing Dear Folks at Home (1919) 154: A runner coming through a deserted French town found several live chickens. These he knocked over ‘pronto’ and brought into the front line where we cooked them.
[US]Hostetter & Beesley It’s a Racket! 230: knock over—To kill or murder.
[UK]V. Davis Gentlemen of the Broad Arrows 38: The screws won’t be able to knock everyone over.
[US](con. 1943–5) A. Murphy To Hell and Back (1950) 161: I knocked over a kraut after you left me.
[Aus]D. Niland Shiralee 32: I didn’t think there was anything could ever knock him over.
[UK]T. Lewis Plender [ebook] ‘And so I’d go and knock somebody over just on the off-chance that they may remember your face’.
[Aus]R.G. Barratt ‘Jaws 5’ in What Do You Reckon (1997) [ebook] Thought I’d knock over a couple of fish while my two mates wasted their time swimming.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 123: knock over Kill a man or any other creature. ANZ C20.

2. (US) to drink, to eat.

[US] in Spirit of the Times (N.Y.) 4 Apr. 3: They can [...] ‘knock over a pint of whisky’ with any ‘Mike Fink’ of Kentucky or Mississippi.
[US]T.A. Dorgan Indoor Sports 22 Jan. [synd. cartoon] Aw knock one over, Mac — a little beer won’t hurt you.
[Aus]G.H. Lawson Dict. of Aus. Words And Terms 🌐 KNOCK ’EM OVER—Buy drinks quickly.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Breach of Promise’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 23: I am better in the morning, and am able to knock over a little breakfast.
[Aus]‘Nino Culotta’ They’re a Weird Mob (1958) 44: I reckon I could knock over a schooner.
[Aus]C. Mann ‘Stiff Luck for the Colonel’ in Three Stories 42: All the more reason for knocking over that mouthful.
[Aus]‘Nino Culotta’ Gone Fishin’ 119: I’m gunna stir that fire up, an’ knock over these two mullet.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 145: They knocked over the three remaining bottles.
[UK]F. Taylor Auf Wiedersehen Pet Two 240: We’ll knock over a few bottles of Moet, eh?

3. to deal with, to accomodate.

[Ind]G.F. Atkinson Curry & Rice (3 edn) n.p.: [W]holesale entertainments, when large batches of the community are ‘knocked over’ at a single discharge, suggesting a feeling of business being effected, and the mob rapidly disposed of.

4. (US Und.) to ban.

[US]F. Williams Hop-Heads 23: Then the law knocked over smoking and I took to heroin.

5. (orig. US) to rob or steal, usu. with violence.

[US] in Collier’s 8 Aug. 30: They ‘knock over’ or rob a store or house.
[US]‘Goat’ Laven Rough Stuff 148: I, the Goat, Gus the Gorilla and Big George [...] went to knock over this plant, in other words get this hidden liquor.
[Aus]K. Tennant Battlers 9: He was thinking that life ‘on the track’ was not so bad, with good places to camp and ‘cockies’ sheep to knock over’.
[US](con. 1940) C. Chessman Cell 2455 175: You knock over six, eight, ten, or twelve places in a night.
[US](con. 1920s) J. Thompson South of Heaven (1994) 178: When the armored truck [...] showed up, they’d knock it over.
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 102: That’ll be like a full-scale war if this guy can really knock him over.
[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 98: Bobby Gillette was the one who knocked over a game Delbert McKechnie had.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 241: He’s lookin for leads on who knocked over the Kama Sutra bank.
[Aus]G. Disher Crosskill [ebook] ‘I want to knock over the Mesics’.
[US]J. Stahl Plainclothes Naked (2002) 73: This snitch claims he knows a guy who knows a guy who knocked over the mayor’s place.
[US]L. Berney Whiplash River [ebook] [T]he check-cashing joint his partner [...] had just knocked over.
[US]S.A. Crosby Blacktop Wasteland 205: [T]he sharp vicissitudes he had experienced [...] since they’d knocked over the jewelry store.

6. (US Und./police) to arrest.

[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 294: If he is ‘in right’ with certain authorities a bootlegger may operate for months before he is ‘knocked over’.
[US]R. Chandler Big Sleep 197: The poor little slum-bred hard guys that got knocked over on their first caper.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 119/2: Knock over. [...] 2. To arrest.
[US]J. Rechy City of Night 121: This is not the first time she gets knocked over.

7. (US Und./police) to raid.

[US]D. Hammett ‘Corkscrew’ Story Omnibus (1966) 212: I happened to run into a smuggling game and knocked it over.
[US]D. Hammett Red Harvest (1965) 34: We’ll knock it [i.e. a club] over as soon as it gets light.
[US]Helena (MT) Indep. 11 Mar. 2/7: They said it as the first opium den knocked over in Montana since the early 1920’s.
[US]W.R. Burnett Asphalt Jungle in Four Novels (1984) 217: I see the coppers. They’re knocking over all the joints along Crane Boulevard.
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Men, Big World 190: You knock ’em over. All of them. Sneak raids. Knock ’em over good. We’ll teach these guys to switch.
[US]C. Himes Cotton Comes to Harlem (1967) 20: They’ve knocked over Big Liz’s circus house.
[US]‘Red’ Rudensky Gonif 94: St. Louis was booming [...] but the Feds had an uncommonly adept knack of knocking over speaks.
[US]B. McCarthy Vice Cop 46: ‘All you had to do was go out and bang the balls off of whomever the hierarchy identified. Go knock over Harry’s gambling operation’.

8. (US Und./police) to get someone into trouble, to punish (a prisoner).

[US]D. Lamson We Who Are About to Die 114: For him to go and get knocked over for a childish little con trick like that!

9. to defeat, e.g. in a competition.

[US]J. Archibald ‘Short Order Crook’ in Ten Detective Aces Apr. 🌐 Joe oughter be back any minute an’ we got a blow-out all planned. He sure knocked ‘em over, huh?

10. (US) to seduce, to have sexual intercourse; to rape.

[US]W.R. Burnett (con. 1893) Goodbye to the Past 151: [of an act of adultery] ‘Better get my head examined,’ he told himself. ‘Me, forty-five and getting knocked over like that!’.
[US](con. 1949) J.G. Dunne True Confessions (1979) 170: You know my M.O. Old dolls. I been telling you. I knocked over an old broad [...] that night.
[Aus]L. Redhead Cherry Pie [ebook] ‘He knocked her over about a month after she started. It normally doesn’t take him that long’.

11. to impress.

[US]I. Shulman Amboy Dukes 12: He really was going to knock them over today.
[UK]P. Theroux Family Arsenal 149: I had a crafty look at it. Later, this was. I’m knocked over!
[US]W.D. Myers Shooter 50: I was impressed, and I mentioned it to Len and it knocked him over.

12. (US) to defeat or abuse through violence; to beat up.

[US]J.G. Dunne True Confessions 155: I knocked over [i.e. raped] an old broad [...] last night.
[NZ]G. Newbold Big Huey 122: The only reason that fellow got knocked over was that he’s a red-hot nark.

In phrases

knock over a/the doll (v.)

(Aus.) to take the consequences for an act.

[Aus]T.A.G. Hungerford Sowers of the Wind 142: Surely to God he knows that if he throws the ball he’s got a chance of knocking over the dolly! [i.e. contracting venereal disease].
[Aus]G. Hamilton Summer Glare 95: ‘Knocking a doll’ was an old belief among us youths. We had never believed the story of the stork or of the cabbage patch either. Years ago the big boys had told us a much better story. It was that inside all women there was a number of small babies sitting in a row, and when a man, or a boy big enough, knocked one over, it was born after nine months. Thus our saying ‘to knock a doll’.