knock out v.
1. (also bang out) in intransitive uses.
(a) to do roughly or quickly, esp. of writing, to create, to make etc.
|Letters (1880) I 422: We may knock out a series of descriptions without much trouble .letter 19 Jan.|
|Mystery of Jack London (1931) 209: The day is a scorcher, and as soon as we can knock out about twenty letters as brief as this, we’re going swimming.letter 19 June in Bamford|
|Ten-Thousand-Dollar Arm 156: He sat down at the piano and banged out some ragtime.‘Loosening Up of Hogan’|
|Ulysses 277: Even comb and tissue paper you can knock a tune out of.|
|Tropic of Cancer (1963) 61: She knocks out two pairs of shoes a day.|
|Coll. Stories (1990) 39: I’ll knock out my couple thousand all ricky.‘Let Me at the Enemy’|
|DAUL 23/1: Bang out, [...] to typewrite; to write.et al.|
|Awopbop. (1970) 103: Not in the same class as the stuff he’d once knocked out on a lazy afternoon.|
|Spike Island (1981) 276: It got to the stage when I could sit at the typewriter and do their routine reports, and I’d knock all these out [...] while they were out.|
|Darkest Day (1998) 333: The first oil sketch [...] was knocked out on a manky old bit of board.|
|Indep. Rev. 11 Feb. 17: Ron can knock out a fugue with the best of them.|
|Plainclothes Naked (2002) 131: Write a book, too. Bang out a tell-all, you’ll be the toast of the supermarket.|
(b) (orig. Aus.) to earn a sum of money; e.g. knock out £200 per week; although orig. of food, in phr. knock out tucker.
|Story Wild Will Enderby (4th edn) I 62: By most of the neighbouring miners, they were regarded as two industrious young men who worked very hard for a bare living—‘just knocking out tucker’, as the phrase went .|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 16 June 26/1: There are about 300 people round about ‘Bung’ Arrow scratching out some kind of a precarious living – the licensed publican must, therefore, have some difficulty in paying the rent and rates and taxes, not to mention ‘knocking out tucker.’.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 1 Oct. 26/3: Having got his company for practically nothing, it is hard lines if the battler-manager doesn’t knock out a couple of pounds a week over expenses.|
|Dubliners (1956) 124: ‘And how does he knock it out?’ asked Mr O’Connor. ‘That’s another mystery.’.‘Ivy Day at the Committee Room’|
|Big Town 3: At that time I was knocking out about eighteen hundred dollars per annum selling cigars.|
|Parm Me 24: I don’t know much he knocks out a year, but it must be in the heavy thousands.|
|Green Kiwi 97: You can knock out a fiver a week.|
(c) to obtain for oneself, e.g. knock out some sleep.
|(con. 1840s–50s) London Labour and London Poor III 413/1: I came here to betther myself, to knock out something betther.|
|Greenmantle (1930) 360: The car was good, and I handled her well [...] and often I knocked fifty miles an hour out of her.|
|Juno and the Paycock Act I: I’ll knock out a bit somewhere, never fear.|
|Really the Blues 25: I thought George was going to knock out some of the usual corn.|
(d) to sell.
|(con. 1920s) Burglar to the Nobility 13: I was busy knocking out the mid-day Racing Pinks.|
|You Flash Bastard 174: You seem to forget what we owe him. I mean it; this, all this doesn’t all come by straight graft. We’d still be struggling in debt if I’d relied solely on knocking out cars.|
|Only Fools and Horses [TV script] Oh we’ll knock that one out and all Rodney.‘Cash & Curry’|
|Scholar 52: Garvey spent most of his time knocking out his duds.|
2. in transitive uses.
(a) to make someone bankrupt.
|Sl. Dict. 210: Knock out [...] to make bankrupt; as a knocked-out backer or bookmaker. When a man cannot meet his engagements on the turf, he is said to be knocked out.|
(b) to fail an examination candidate.
|DSUE (1984) 656: late C.19–20.|
(c) (US) to deprive someone, esp. of money.
|Forty Years a Gambler 77: You have knocked me out of many a good dollar.|
|Sporting Times 9 June 1/4: This life that I am leading [...] this mixture of mashing and mafficking is slowly but surely knocking me out.|
|Shake Him Till He Rattles (1964) 112: He looked around at the scuffed and soiled sawdust, the beat-up tables [...] and thought that Dino would be smart to use a little soap and paint before the Health Inspectors knocked him out.|
(d) to kill someone; thus knock-out man n.
|in Puck (N.Y.) 29 July 347: Here I used to nick my rifle, / When I knocked out any white man [HDAS].|
|Chimmie Fadden and Mr Paul 41: She says nobody knocked Napoleon out; dat he put himself in de hands of his frends, and dey put him on an island.|
|Kitchener’s Mob 197: I’ll tyke me charnces down below w’en I gets knocked out.|
|(con. 1880s) Gangs of N.Y. 227: Said McGlon the day after the murder: ‘A guy ain’t tough until he has knocked his man out!’.|
|Gentlemen of the Broad Arrows 171: He has been knocked out with a machine-gun.|
|In This Corner (1974) 209: He was what one time was called the ‘knockout man’ for the gangsters. If you don’t pay up something they’d put a bomb under you. He used to do that.in Heller|
(e) (orig. US) to surprise, overcome or defeat.
|Daily L.A. Herald 13 Aug. 2/3: An astonished person is ‘knocked out’’.|
|How Private Peck Put Down the Rebellion 165: That letter knocked me out in one round.|
|Dames Don’t Care (1960) 25: His wife is brought back an’ is knocked out by the news.|
|Look Long Upon a Monkey 39: That Valerie had shown up at all was wonderful. The first glimpse had nearly knocked him out.|
(f) (esp. US black, also knock flat) to impress, to overwhelm, to delight.
|Sporting Times 8 Feb. 5/3: Florence St. John is fairly knocking them out in America, her success in New York having been repeated ‘only more so,’ in Philadelphia.|
|Bulletin 21 Jan. 14: ‘You talk of snakes,’ said Jack the Rat, ‘But blow me, one hot summer, I seen a thing that knocked me flat —’.‘A Snake Yarn’ in|
|New Mencken Letters (1977) 38: I have no doubts about the next volume [...] you will knock them out with it.letter 12 Nov. in Bode|
|Classics in Sl. 29: Hamlet runs across ’em and immediately is knocked flat by a idea.|
|Really the Blues 11: When he played the blues he really knocked us out.|
|Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) 8: Guys and gals, it knocks me out to be able to elucidate before a group of real gone people that’s out of this world.|
|Owning Up (1974) 213: The remark which knocked us out was when one of the Chinese men shouted at another in a strong Scouse accent, ‘Der trouble wid youse is you’re yeller!’.|
|Too Many Crooks Spoil the Caper 34: Ain’t ’e a scream, Iron Eyes – don’t ’e knock yuh out?|
|Indep. Information 21–27 Aug. 66: The smart graphics [...] and awesome special moves are sure to knock you out.|
|Indep. Rev. 28 Jan. 13: Obviously, I had heard of The Verve, and was knocked out to be offered the chance.|
(g) (Aus.) in fig. use, to surpass.
|Truth (Sydney) 16 Sept. 5/5: Talk about yer London slums and / Awl there holes of Misery; / I have spotted things in Sydney / Knocks out anything I see.|
(h) (US Und.) to arrest.
|Townsville Daily Bulletin (Aus.) 14 June 13: To be ‘knocked out’ means to be arrested.|
|DAUL 119/2: Knock out. 1. To arrest.et al.|
(i) to steal, esp. to steal everything from the place one is robbing.
|Lag’s Lex. 116: knock out, to [...] To knock out a place or gaff, is to burgle it thoroughly, leaving it cleaned out of anything of value.|
1. to have a very enjoyable time, to ‘let oneself go’, to amaze oneself.
|‘Sl. among Nebraska Negroes’ in AS XIII:4 Dec. 317/1: To knock yourself out means to go the limit in some particular direction.|
|Coll. Stories (1990) 36: We was at the Creole Breakfast Club knockin’ ourselves out when this icky George Brown butts in.‘Let Me at the Enemy’ in|
|‘The Be-Bop Santa Claus’ [lyrics] Have a crazy, cool Christmas and knock yourself out!|
|‘Sl. of Watts’ in Current Sl. III:2.|
|Underground Dict. (1972).|
|(con. 1970s) King Suckerman (1998) 54: Do a hit if you want; knock yourself out.|
|Stingray Shuffle 26: Paul held one of the travel guides up [...] ‘Are these free?’ ‘Knock yourself out.’.|
|Running the Books 202: Knock yourself out [...] but watch out for Gallows. he’s kind of a character.|
2. to work very hard.
|Pal Joey 59: They are knocking themselves out indevouring to sign some baby.|
|Really the Blues 110: You knock yourself out making great new music for the people, and they treat you like some kind of plague.|
|Criminal (1993) 71: You’re a reporter and you knock yourself out on something.|
|All Night Stand 7: Maybe he feels like he wasted on the lovely little scrubbers we knock ourselves out for.|
|Clockers 505: A lot of running around knocking myself out and feeling like a moke.|
3. to worry.
|Savage Night (1991) 64: Was I knocking myself out over nothing?|
|Best that Ever Did It (1957) 22: I nodded. ‘But I don’t feel right about it.’ ‘Barney, stop knocking yourself out.’.|
(US) have a good time!
|Burn, Killer, Burn! 101: Knock yourself out, baby.|
|Down These Mean Streets (1970) 133: ‘Knock yourself out.’ ‘Thankee kindly, suh,’ Brew said and continued chomping away.|
|Arrest-Proof Yourself 20: Boogie on—go wild—knock yourself out.|
SE in slang uses
(US) to defeat, to overcome, to kill.
|[||Topeka State Jrnl (KS) 12 May 8/3: The Cleveland Indians raised the world’s championship flag and then knocked Walter Kenton out of the box, beating Washington 14 to 1].|
|On the Waterfront (1964) 182: You’ve got a hell of a chance to knock Johnny Friendly out of the box.|
|Ringolevio 327: They can taste what it’ll be like when those few who own everything are knocked out of the box.|
|‘Straight Outa Compton’ [lyrics] I’m knocking niggers out of the box daily! You’re weekly, monthly & yearly!|
to be very drunk.
|Session Papers of the Central Criminal Court IV Pt iii : He said he supposed she had knocked out her link (meaning she was drunk).|