Definition of knock in English:


Pronunciation /nɒk//nɒk/


  • 1no object Strike a surface noisily to attract attention, especially when waiting to be let in through a door.

    ‘he strolled over and knocked on a door marked Enquiries’
    • ‘Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard Steve softly knock at the door before he came in.’
    • ‘He knocks loudly at the door, and it swings open with a ponderous creak.’
    • ‘I had just flatly refused to talk to anybody for a few days but Beverly came knocking at my door.’
    • ‘Tash was ready and waiting when David knocked at her door and ushered her into a waiting taxi.’
    • ‘She went to Mark's apartment and knocked on the door.’
    • ‘The Slovenian driver was asleep in his cab when he was woken by a man knocking on the window.’
    • ‘Elena knocked, straightening her suit coat, smoothing her hair.’
    • ‘Amy and I waited until I got sick and tired of waiting, and knocked lightly on the window.’
    • ‘A drunk guy had spilled his drink on me and I wanted to wash my shirt so I barged in without knocking.’
    • ‘Cameron knocked twice, and the unfamiliar face of Jason Phillips appeared behind a large oak door.’
    • ‘When they approached and knocked on the bathroom door, they heard scuffling and the toilet flushing.’
    • ‘He first learned that a newspaper was on to him when his former mistress interrupted a dinner with a colleague to tell him the News Of The World had been knocking at her door.’
    • ‘Motorists who somehow believe fines will go away if they are ignored will regret their action when bailiffs come knocking at the door.’
    • ‘He knocked lightly at the door but there was no answer.’
    • ‘After a moment, he knocked louder, trying to compete with the noise.’
    • ‘‘Next time knock before you come in’ I muttered, my face still beet red as I dried the plates.’
    • ‘He knocked gently on the door, drawing the attention of every person in the room.’
    • ‘Jim hung his coat on a peg in the waiting area and walked over to the door, knocking quietly as he opened it.’
    • ‘I sort of blinked, decided I was dreaming again - I often dream there's someone ringing or knocking at the door - and drifted back to sleep.’
    • ‘Competitors from the Asian neighborhood are already knocking at Korea's door.’
    • ‘There was no noise from inside, so she knocked loudly.’
    bang, tap, rap, thump, pound, hammer
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Strike or thump together or against something.
      ‘her heart knocked painfully behind her ribs’
      • ‘My heart was knocking against my ribs so hard I could hardly breathe, much less speak.’
      • ‘In fact, she could almost feel her knees knocking together.’
      • ‘When I first met Madonna I was star-struck and my knees were knocking together because I was so nervous.’
      • ‘My knees were actually knocking when I left your studio after telling that story.’
      • ‘Gavin reached down to it the same time she did and their heads knocked together.’
      • ‘My heart was knocking against my chest.’
      • ‘Heart still knocking against her ribs, she strode anxiously to the front door, rising up slightly on her feet to peer through the hole.’
      • ‘The pots and pans that dangled from her pack made a clanging noise, as they knocked together.’
      • ‘Before he could strike, however, the man collided with him from the side, their foreheads knocking together with a loud crack.’
      • ‘Vibrations shot up her arm from the shock of the two steel blades knocking together.’
      • ‘When these cattle move side by side in the herd, their hollow horns knock together, producing a characteristic resonant sound.’
      • ‘His teeth were rattling in head, his legs had turned to jelly and his knees were knocking together like castanets.’
      • ‘Not a leaf stirred; we could only hear our hearts beat wildly, knocking against our ribs like a trapped bird.’
      • ‘Only his fast thinking kept their heads from knocking together.’
      • ‘Her legs were numb and her knees knocked together as she stumbled on the uneven ground.’
      • ‘Her body wouldn't stop trembling, her knees knocked together.’
      • ‘With the right body language, no one will even know your knees are knocking.’
      • ‘She tried to stand but decided her knees would knock together, so she sat back down.’
    2. 1.2 (of a motor or other engine) make a regular thumping or rattling noise, e.g. through pinking.
      • ‘The only time you should consider using a higher-octane gas is if your engine starts to knock or ping.’
      • ‘This premature ignition (called knocking or pinging) lowers the power output and can damage the engine.’
      • ‘While driving your car, you can also listen to the engine: if you hear knocking, it's a good sign that you have trouble.’
  • 2with object Collide with (someone or something), giving them a hard blow.

    ‘he deliberately ran against her, knocking her shoulder’
    no object ‘he knocked into an elderly man with a walking stick’
    • ‘About five of the guys sneered at me while the others ‘accidentally’ knocked into my side.’
    • ‘As she stepped forward a couple of younger boys came pounding down the sidewalk and both knocked into her, sending her falling backwards towards the street.’
    • ‘The window suddenly swung open inside, the frame knocking him hard on the chin and sending him sprawling on his back.’
    • ‘You might accidentally knock heads with your partner.’
    • ‘Most of that evening was pretty much a blur, except I do remember when Adam knocked my elbow by mistake and made me spill a drink all over myself.’
    collide with, bump into, bang into, knock against, hit, strike, be in collision with, run into, crash into, smash into, plough into, slam into, dash against, ram, jolt
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with object and adverbial of direction Force to move or fall with a deliberate or accidental blow or collision.
      ‘he'd knocked over a glass of water’
      • ‘Two lamps had been knocked over and broken glass covered the floor.’
      • ‘He was hit from behind and knocked to the ground.’
      • ‘Suddenly the boat shifted and moved, throwing her to her knees and almost knocking Wes into the water.’
      • ‘As she was reaching across the table, she accidentally knocked over her glass of Coke.’
      • ‘He gasped as the wind was knocked out of his lungs.’
      • ‘A woman was left lying injured after being knocked down by a child riding an off-road motorbike on the pavement.’
      • ‘Suddenly something struck him hard, knocking him to one side.’
      • ‘She took a step forward and was nearly knocked over by a large man rushing past her.’
      • ‘Neighbours were beaten back by flames after knocking down the front door.’
      • ‘A cyclist was knocked off his bike on Brook Hill a couple of weeks ago.’
      • ‘Just as I approached the door, a whirlwind in the form of a small child shot out of the room, colliding with me and knocking me into the wall.’
      • ‘There are fears the 92-year-old building could be knocked down to make way for a housing scheme.’
      • ‘I squeaked in surprise, flinging my hand sideways and knocking half a dozen books off the shelf.’
      • ‘An elderly man is critically ill in hospital after being knocked down when a teenager ran across a road and jumped into the middle of a bus queue.’
      • ‘On the east coast, television pictures showed bricks and tiles had been knocked from some buildings, but there were no indications of serious damage.’
      • ‘I stood up quickly, knocking my chair over in the process.’
      • ‘The court heard Mr Smedley was knocked to the floor before his attackers kicked him twice in the stomach.’
      • ‘A new youth shelter being built in Hutton recreation area has been knocked down by vandals even before it is completed.’
      • ‘He was knocked unconscious and robbed in a vicious attack near Trowbridge Park.’
      • ‘The storm knocked down trees and power lines in the area.’
    2. 2.2 Injure or damage by striking.
      ‘she knocked her knee painfully on the table’
      figurative ‘you have had a setback that has knocked your self-esteem’
      • ‘Being the only single person in your group can be isolating. You start to wonder why you haven't got a partner and this can knock your self-esteem.’
      • ‘I charged at him, but the boy knocked me hard in the ribs, throwing me back.’
      • ‘Ruth fell and knocked her head quite hard on the table.’
      • ‘Tom jolted out of his dream, wincing as he knocked his elbow against the bedpost.’
      • ‘I stumbled to my feet, knocking my knee against a corner of the table.’
      • ‘He knocked my forehead hard, which gave a great deal of pain.’
      • ‘I sat up quickly and promptly knocked my head on the overhang.’
      • ‘Do comments like that spur you on to drive harder or do they knock your confidence?’
      bump, bang, hit, strike, crack
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3 Make (a hole or a dent) in something by striking it forcefully.
      ‘you'll need to knock a hole in the wall’
      • ‘Anywhere in the area of Amalfi or Ravello, 10 minutes in a taxi will knock a £20 hole in your pocket.’
      • ‘That's right: if your landlord complains that you're knocking holes in the walls, he or she is too strict.’
      • ‘Sure, it's exhilarating to read a new and undiscovered book that knocks my socks off… I think… I'm not sure it's really happened.’
      • ‘Thieves knocked a hole in the shop wall before making off with equipment valued at about £11,000.’
      • ‘Just down the walk, I found a hole knocked in a garden wall and a hundred bricks missing.’
      • ‘In one case installation of the computer was delayed a day, and when the team arrived the next morning they found that a hole had been knocked through one of the walls already.’
      • ‘This is particularly clever for old buildings where knocking new holes through walls can be tricky.’
      • ‘Columbia broke into pieces during its return trip from space in 2003 because Nasa failed to spot that a hole had been knocked in its wing during launch.’
      • ‘One rock knocked a four feet hole in a nearby wall and Mr Ayrton said some stones had been found three quarters of a mile away.’
      • ‘Ms Waterman says asbestos entered their flat through a hole which builders knocked in their wall.’
    4. 2.4 Demolish the barriers between (rooms or buildings)
      ‘two of the downstairs rooms had been knocked into one’
      • ‘The café looks as if it had been two rooms knocked into one.’
      • ‘To the right are two further rooms which could be knocked into one.’
      • ‘Lord Rogers does live in London - he has two Georgian terrace houses knocked together in Chelsea.’
      • ‘It seemed a small house from the outside, but on entering they could see that it actually consisted of several houses knocked together around a small courtyard.’
      • ‘It's a bit of a Tardis - two townhouses knocked together, with a long gallery at the back where the garden used to be.’
      • ‘She and her husband Derek live with their four children in Wapping, east London, in two former council flats knocked into one.’
      • ‘The new facility, on Rectory Road, replaces the previous cramped and out-of-date building made up of four residential houses knocked together.’
      • ‘Three Georgian townhouses were knocked together in the 1970s when Edinburgh's planning regulations were looser.’
      • ‘It consists of the former Egyptian embassy and a one-time annexe to Russia's embassy knocked together.’
      • ‘Georgieva gestures around her office, which consists of two rooms knocked into one.’
  • 3informal with object Talk disparagingly about; criticize.

    • ‘That's because whenever they do, they never offer any praise, they will just jump straight in and start knocking what I've done.’
    • ‘He was raised to think he's the greatest by his parents, who wanted to instill a strong sense of self in him, so it's hard to knock him for his attitude.’
    • ‘It is hard to knock a man with such charisma and unswerving comic timing, but anyone having had the pleasure of seeing him on stage before would have been disappointed at the lack of new material.’
    • ‘I'm not knocking the company, but it's going to be too small for institutional investors.’
    • ‘So stop knocking the town you live in and be proud of what we have and what has been achieved here.’
    • ‘We had a fair amount of possession and worked hard, I can't knock the commitment.’
    • ‘It's hard to knock this decision in political terms, and it has a defensible legal rationale.’
    • ‘Critics knock the X3 for its austere interior, but most BMWs tend toward the spartan.’
    criticize, find fault with, run down, disparage, belittle, depreciate, deprecate, detract from, give a bad press to, cast aspersions on, scoff at, deride, jeer at, carp at, cavil at
    View synonyms
  • 4informal with object Approach (a specified age)

    ‘he's younger than his brother—knocking seventy’
    • ‘Overall, I'm not bad for a man knocking 60.’
    • ‘He sounded a little disappointed to hear that they were all knocking thirty.’


  • 1A sudden short sound caused by a blow, especially on a door to attract attention or gain entry.

    • ‘At half-past six on the dot, a knock sounded on the door.’
    • ‘About two minutes later, there was a short knock at the cabin door.’
    • ‘She was walking towards her bedroom when a knock sounded on the door.’
    • ‘She must have dozed off, because the sound of a knock at the door made her nearly jump a foot in the air.’
    • ‘It was already very late into the night and Rosalind was beginning to doze off in her chair by the window when a sudden knock at the door startled her out of sleep.’
    • ‘The sound of a knock at the door woke him from his reverie, and he walked quickly downstairs.’
    • ‘There was a loud, hard knock at the door.’
    • ‘As Willow was about to speak, a loud knock sounded on the door.’
    • ‘All of a sudden there was a knock at the front door.’
    • ‘Justin heard loud knocks coming from the front door.’
    • ‘There was a sudden knock at the door, the noise seemingly unnatural and loud in the silence that I had gotten accustomed to in the past half-hour.’
    • ‘I jumped as a sharp knock sounded at my door.’
    • ‘He heard another knock and the soft sound of a doorknob being turned.’
    • ‘There was another knock, this time louder, then the sound of the door opening.’
    • ‘He nearly jumped out of his skin when the knock sounded at the door.’
    • ‘He smiled and leaned down to kiss her, frowning as a sudden knock sounded on the door.’
    • ‘She was gazing into the mirror, not really paying attention to the task at hand when a knock sounded at the door.’
    • ‘He opened his mouth to speak but was interrupted by a sudden knock at the door.’
    • ‘A sharp knock sounded at the door, interrupting their conversation.’
    • ‘There was no reply, just another knock, louder than the first.’
    tap, rap, rat-tat, rat-tat-tat, knocking, bang, banging, beating, pounding, hammering, drumming, thump, thud
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1mass noun A continual thumping or rattling sound made by an engine.
      • ‘Petrol fuels contain a host of additives to enhance octane rating, lower engine knock and counteract water.’
      • ‘When added to gasoline in minute amounts, tetraethyl lead prevents engine knock and increases the gasoline's octane rating.’
      • ‘In the 1920s, lead was added to petrol, and this addition allowed vehicles to reach higher speeds without engine knock.’
      • ‘This is used to determine when to adjust ignition timing to control knock. - CAS’
      • ‘Lucas oil Octane Booster eliminates spark knocks, pinging, and dieseling while promoting clean fuel burn for fewer emissions and better mileage.’
      tap, rap, rat-tat, rat-tat-tat, knocking, bang, banging, beating, pounding, hammering, drumming, thump, thud
      View synonyms
  • 2A blow or collision.

    ‘the casing is tough enough to withstand knocks’
    • ‘A player just took a hard knock to the head and is lying on the field.’
    • ‘While the shell does protect the phone's internal components from everyday knocks and bumps, it is not waterproof, merely water resistant.’
    • ‘Chelsea could be without William Gallas, who suffered a knock against Villa.’
    • ‘Jonathan Smith is expected to undergo a fitness test after sustaining a knock to his knee on Sunday.’
    • ‘He suffered a bad knock on the head in the second half.’
    • ‘Gashes and knocks that would put a professional footballer out of action for weeks tend to be shrugged off.’
    • ‘The Rams' only other injury worry is over Chris Clarke, who took a knock to a leg during the game at Flixton.’
    • ‘One swift knock to the head knocked the guy out, and we left.’
    • ‘As the blood supply for the scalp is so good, any knock received tends to bleed profusely resulting in blood everywhere and bruising as a result.’
    • ‘This time his injury was as a result of an accidental knock to his head as he was laying on a tackle.’
    • ‘At present, an estimated three million people in the UK suffer from the condition, which weakens the skeleton so that a simple knock can snap a bone.’
    • ‘The bumps, jarring and knocks can damage the helmet.’
    • ‘The front wings are plastic and can withstand 15 km/h knocks without damage which reduces repairs.’
    • ‘He bent over a little and rubbed his head, it was already throbbing from before so another knock didn't make him feel any better.’
    • ‘Of course with football being a very physical game there were always plenty of knocks to be taken, some leading to injuries and lay-offs.’
    • ‘No matter how well you drive, with such tight racing and constant jostling for places it is inevitable that you will incur a few bumps and knocks along the way.’
    • ‘Bumps and knocks to the head are quite common, particularly among children.’
    • ‘Since one wall was completely knocked down two weeks ago, two more knocks have left the other cracked and weakened.’
    • ‘At no stage during the match could he recall having sustained a knock to his head.’
    • ‘Head guards and helmets protect the skull and the brain from injuries caused by knocks to the head during sports and greatly reduce the risk of serious head injuries.’
    bump, blow, bang, striking, beating, jolt, jar, jarring, shock
    blow, bang, stroke, hit, slap, smack, crack, buffet, punch, cuff, thump, box
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    1. 2.1 A discouraging experience; a setback.
      ‘the region's industries have taken a severe knock’
      • ‘In the past couple of years, profits at many companies have taken a severe knock.’
      • ‘But this appeal has suffered two huge knocks of late.’
      • ‘He seems like the kind of guy who has lived life and taken a few hard knocks along the way.’
      • ‘Steeton saw their chance of promotion from Division One take a severe knock when they were beaten 2-1 at Ardsley Celtic.’
      • ‘As the weeks passed, it became ever harder to make ends meet and a £140 servicing for Vivienne's car was a severe knock.’
      • ‘In a nutshell, I hadn't suffered the same hard knocks and had little chance of knowing what was really important in life.’
      • ‘There are enough hard knocks and challenges in life without us deliberately providing them for each other.’
      • ‘Hovingham's chances of lifting the divisional trophy took a knock when they suffered a shock defeat at Clifton Alliance.’
      • ‘Scotland has become a harsher place and our image as a tolerant and open minded nation has taken a severe knock.’
      • ‘We're big enough to take the knocks when they're due, but is it so unthinkable sometimes to recognise and celebrate success?’
      • ‘After the knock suffered by the industry last year because of the Foot and Mouth crisis, tourism operators were hoping for rather better luck this year.’
      • ‘From Australia's point of view, having got so close and then losing was a big knock.’
      • ‘I've suffered a lot of knocks over the years, but I've survived them.’
      • ‘The party has taken greater knocks in its history than this minor set-back.’
      setback, reversal, reverse of fortune, rebuff, rejection, defeat, failure, difficulty, misfortune, bad luck, stroke of bad luck, mishap, bad experience, blow, body blow, disaster, calamity, disappointment, grief, sorrow, trouble, hardship
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    2. 2.2informal A critical comment.
      • ‘In recent seasons, the FA Cup has taken a few knocks from the critics, but in my eyes there is still a lot of magic associated with the competition.’
      • ‘If they want to get ahead, Ms McIntosh says, women have to be prepared to develop thick skins, and the confidence to take the knocks and criticism that go with a high-powered job.’
      • ‘The only knock is he lacks experience against elite-level competition.’
      • ‘This is no knock against Lucas, who does a fine job in his short scenes, but it is a structural problem that the film does not entirely solve.’
      criticism, disparagement, stricture, fault-finding, denigration, censure, reproach, reproval, condemnation, lambasting
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  • 3informal An innings, especially of an individual batsman.

    ‘a splendid knock of 117 against Somerset’
    • ‘Ian Winterbottom held the innings together with a knock of 51.’
    • ‘Cook struck 12 fours in his 343-ball knock lasting over six hours.’
    • ‘He struck 12 fours in his 259-ball knock.’
    • ‘A feature of the NatWest Series was how well Australia adjusted a couple of times to difficult surfaces, with Mike Hussey in particular playing some splendid knocks under pressure.’
    • ‘Jeff Whitmore assisted with a captain's knock of 42 before being caught of a big Brad Tanner delivery.’


  • knock someone's block off

    • informal Hit someone very hard.

      • ‘The first time we met I thought he was going to knock my block off because I'd called him Bart instead of Bartholomew.’
      • ‘I'd like to see it myself, except that someone would probably recognize me and try to knock my block off.’
      • ‘He told Bellamy he would knock his block off if he ever set foot back in Newcastle.’
      • ‘In fact, I scared one of them half to death when I walked through the door; she tried to knock my block off with a mop as she thought I was an intruder!’
      • ‘I get home from school a few days later and my mother is looking like she wants to knock my block off.’
      • ‘The young man turned to look at me, and for a second there, I thought he was going to knock my block off.’
      • ‘If I were that age - I'd knock his block off if I were his ‘so-called’ teammate.’
      strike, slap, smack, cuff, punch, beat, thrash, thump, batter, belabour, drub, hook, pound, smash, slam, welt, pummel, hammer, bang, knock, swat, whip, flog, cane, sucker-punch, rain blows on, give someone a beating, give someone a drubbing, give someone a good beating, give someone a good drubbing, box someone's ears
      View synonyms
  • knock someone dead

    • informal Greatly impress someone.

      • ‘‘You're going to knock them dead,’ she stated firmly, ‘and you're more handsome than any of those actors.’’
      • ‘We've got an answering machine gag that seems to knock them dead every time.’
      • ‘I am 5ft 8in, size 8, and want to wear something that will knock him dead.’
      • ‘He is so confident that his new energy drink will knock them dead in the market place that he is planning to take on the likes of Lucozade and Red Bull.’
      • ‘Mandy Siegfried proves herself a young comedienne who'll duly knock them dead from Mineola to Minnesota.’
      • ‘She had put on dark red lipstick and was wearing a dress that was sure to knock Chris dead.’
      • ‘I nodded and smiled faintly, ‘You're going to knock him dead tonight.’’
      • ‘This album is trying too hard to be smooth and pleasing to the masses, meaning that Wright ends up crooning uninterestingly where she should be knocking us dead.’
      • ‘Good luck for tonight: I'm sure you'll knock 'em dead!’
      • ‘Wear the pink strapless shirt in my second drawer - you'll knock him dead.’
      make an impression on, have an impact on, influence, affect, leave a mark on, move, stir, rouse, excite, inspire, galvanize
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  • knock someone into the middle of next week

    • informal Hit someone very hard.

  • knock it off

    • informal Stop doing something.

      • ‘The couple who are renting the place next to mine spent the entire night fighting. They didn't knock it off until well past two in the morning.’
      • ‘If you're doing this as an attempt to Henry make break off his engagement with his fianceé, knock it off, because it ain't gonna happen!’
      • ‘Danielle, knock it off. The overprotective mother role doesn't suit you.’
  • knock someone on the head

    • Stun or kill someone by a blow to the head.

      • ‘Godfrey had predicted prior to his disappearance that he would be knocked on the head.’
      • ‘He was about to say something to her when the others realized it and knocked him on the head and dragged him away.’
      • ‘Before Mackenzie could react, she was knocked on the head.’
      • ‘Trying to break up a fight between his girlfriend and another girl, he was knocked on the head and then stabbed.’
      • ‘If you knocked someone on the head and stole their wallet you would be punished.’
      • ‘The next thing he knew something hard had knocked him on the head and he had awakened with a throbbing headache and an ugly bruise.’
  • knock something on the head

    • informal Prevent an idea, plan, or proposal from being developed or carried out.

      ‘the fond belief that the weather is always better in California than in Europe was firmly knocked on the head this week’
      • ‘The stunning songwriter has sustained a glittering career, but she's had enough and she's knocking it on the head.’
      • ‘The deal with Charleroi was knocked on the head because it was ruled uncompetitive.’
      • ‘She told the German press this week that she had knocked the relationship on the head after five months.’
      • ‘ANY suggestion that refurbishment work on Portlaoise's main street would start before Christmas has been knocked on the head.’
      • ‘Plans by the owners of Barrington's Private Hospital in Limerick to develop a €12m 40-bed medical clinic in Ferrybank have been knocked on the head by An Bord Pleanála.’
      impede, interfere with, hamper, hinder, obstruct, inhibit, frustrate, thwart, foil, spoil, stall, shackle, fetter, stop, check, block, cripple, handicap, scotch
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  • knock spots off

    • informal Easily outdo.

      • ‘The Paris Metro knocks spots off London's Tube, but the standard map of the various lines and destinations can be a touch confusing for the uninitiated.’
      • ‘So far, broadcasting certainly knocks spots off work experience at local papers, and I'm getting on top of new techniques, technology and tricks every day.’
      • ‘A small, cosy gem on Sherman Drive, this is a classic 1940s bar that knocks spots off most 1990s retro imitations.’
      • ‘In terms of value for money, this knocks spots off many of the established brands of Champagne.’
  • the school of hard knocks

    • Painful or difficult experiences that are seen to be useful in teaching someone about life.

      • ‘I've learned the hard way at the school of hard knocks.’
      • ‘It is quite an honor for a working writer (one who has learned the craft in the school of hard knocks, rather than in a writing program) to be asked to teach a class like this.’
      • ‘So you again enter the catch - 22 situation, where you are either qualified but lacking in the experience department, or the wealth of experience you have gained in the school of hard knocks is wasted as you don't have the qualifications.’
      • ‘Many respondents indicated that valuable learning was only possible via hands-on training in the school of hard knocks.’
      • ‘‘The first year was difficult, no doubt about it,’ admits this graduate from the school of hard knocks.’
      • ‘Unfortunately his father lost his fortune shortly thereafter, and Finlay instead received instruction from the school of hard knocks as he grew up amid grinding poverty in the Glasgow slums.’
      • ‘Foolishly, I had decided to learn California's unique motorcycle laws and driving rules through the school of hard knocks.’
      • ‘They will very soon get the shock of their lives and learn some very painful lesson in the school of hard knocks.’
      • ‘Being a person who bypassed college and enrolled directly in the school of hard knocks, I may not be the best source to ask about higher education.’
      • ‘But admissions departments should make the extra effort to look for signs of character traits, like persistence, imagination, and training in the school of hard knocks, that might be hidden in the numbers.’
      the way of the world, the world, the way things go, the way of it, the human condition, the times we live in, the usual state of affairs, the school of hard knocks
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  • you could have knocked me (or her, him, etc.) down with a feather

    • informal Used to express great surprise.

      • ‘But when I read it, you could have knocked me down with a feather.’
      • ‘I felt sure it was something physical like a virus, so you could have knocked me down with a feather when he diagnosed depression.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • knock about (or around)

    • 1Travel without a specific purpose.

      ‘for a couple of years she and I knocked around the Mediterranean’
      • ‘Weiss has been knocking around L.A. for decades, to the point that he's now considered a fixture on the scene.’
      • ‘His years knocking around what was then known as the Far East as a freelance writer and journalist had given him an encyclopaedic knowledge of tropical conditions.’
      • ‘I should point out that despite several years of Spanish and some time knocking around in Germany, I'm a hopeless monoglot.’
      • ‘I've been trying to keep busy over the last few days as knocking around the house in the middle of the week, when my wife is at work and Zachery is at school is a strangely hollow experience.’
      • ‘As every day is different, I think about where I'm going and dress accordingly, but I'm at my happiest knocking about in grungy old gardening things.’
      • ‘I highly recommend it if you're knocking around Cornwall and have a spare day out.’
      wander, roam, rove, range, travel, travel idly, journey, voyage, globetrot, drift, coast, meander, gad about, gallivant, jaunt, take a trip, go on a trip
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      1. 1.1Happen to be present.
        ‘it gets confusing when there are too many people knocking about’
        • ‘The issue has been knocking around for years, but it came to a head in 2000.’
        • ‘Suddenly songs that had been knocking around in his head for more than a decade were finding new life.’
        • ‘There's a huge amount of real evidence knocking around that's being ignored by the media.’
        • ‘There are loads of interesting foreigners knocking about.’
        • ‘I conjectured on the basis of their compilation appearances that the band had been knocking about for a while, and they may very well have been, but this new single is actually their debut release.’
        • ‘Our arts editor tells me she has a few CDs knocking about that I might want to listen to - so I go and take a look.’
        • ‘Mind you, I don't have £130 or so knocking around, so it's a bit academic.’
        • ‘You've got the Trafford Centre and the Arndale Centre, of course, which are fairly well known, but then there's all sorts of smaller places knocking around.’
        • ‘Unlike some convertible models that were knocking around a decade or so ago, the one big difference drivers of the new 3 - Series should notice is its stability.’
        • ‘Although I think I've fixed everything on the front page of the site, there will inevitably be a few broken links knocking around the place.’
      2. 1.2British Spend time with someone.
        ‘she knocked around with artists’
        • ‘He spent several years working the circuit before heading out to Nashville where he knocked around with the up-and-coming country stars.’
        • ‘The 15-year-old cousin he knocked around with in Redfern had been kicked out of their family's home town of Walgett as a public nuisance’
        • ‘I started knocking about with three people from the village.’
        • ‘He's a nice lad, so are the pals he knocks around with, so I just can't imagine why anyone would do this.’
        • ‘Des remembers fondly some of the expressions he learnt from mates he used to knock around with.’
        • ‘They were the type of blokes that my mother dreaded I would end up knocking about with, the type who always had run-ins with the police.’
        • ‘I'm still friends with the same crowd of people I've knocked about with since I was 17.’
        • ‘Sometimes Robert's friend, 13-year-old Heather, would knock around with them.’
        • ‘‘When I was about 12 I started knocking around with boys from school - just kissing and touching at first,’ she said.’
        • ‘He has knocked around with Cuban revolutionaries and Chilean novelists, New York jazz musicians and San Francisco bohemians, in the global intellectual village that stretches from Lima to Mysore.’
        associate, consort, keep company, go around, mix, socialize, have dealings, have to do with, accompany, escort
        View synonyms
  • knock someone/something about (or around)

    • Injure or damage by rough treatment.

      • ‘‘They chased after me and started knocking me about,’ she said.’
      • ‘A week in Adelaide with her had knocked Mum around fairly badly on an emotional level.’
      • ‘Violent men, who I'm told quite often want sex after they've knocked their wives about, no doubt also classify as frigid the women who don't regard a black eye as acceptable foreplay.’
      • ‘Being here made me realize what I was missing by being rough with you and knocking you around and flirting with other girls.’
      • ‘Your father was knocked about by the Depression, as nearly every man was, I suppose.’
      • ‘By the time you reach your 30's, you've been knocked around a bit, but you've made some mistakes and learned a little more about yourself.’
      • ‘It's good to see that getting knocked around last Fall helped get his priorities straight.’
      • ‘AIt wasn't any secret by the end of the relationship that he had been knocking her about though nobody thought he would ever hurt the kids.’
      • ‘People get stirred up and aggressive and go home and knock their family about.’
      • ‘Turbulence was knocking around our noisy little twin-prop plane like a beach ball in a hurricane.’
      beat up, beat, batter, strike, hit, punch, thump, thrash, smack, slap, cuff, buffet, pummel, belabour
      View synonyms
  • knock someone back

    • 1Reject or discourage a person or their request or suggestion.

      ‘he applied for funding for nine different projects and was knocked back each time’
      • ‘South Craven School has been knocked back in its application for foundation status.’
      • ‘But Leeds planning officers, branding it as ‘inappropriate development for the green belt’, have knocked the proposals back even before they could be considered by councillors.’
      • ‘I wanted to join the committee but I was knocked back at the time by the then chairman, the late Arthur Butler.’
      • ‘We kept putting in for planning permission but they kept knocking us back.’
      • ‘Plans to expand a childcare centre in a residential street in Alstonville have been knocked back by Ballina Council, despite a staff recommendation to approve the application.’
      • ‘At first Bowman was knocked back by every major broadcaster because of her accent.’
      • ‘Despite a 20-year record of party commitment, Deacon was knocked back by the selection panel picking candidates for the new parliament.’
      • ‘Their request for funds from the Football Foundation was knocked back four times.’
      • ‘The company's first attempt to run train services in Wellington was knocked back by the New Zealand Commerce Commission in December 2001.’
      • ‘I feel embarrassed knocking him back seeing as we've had such a nice conversation and I don't want him to be wasting time with me if he wants to be chatting up some other woman.’
    • 2Cost someone a specified, typically large, amount of money.

      ‘buying that house must have knocked them back a bit’
      • ‘Townhouse-style properties cost in the region of £300,000, while a second-hand villa in Nice, Cannes or Villefranche will knock you back at least £450,000 to £500,000.’
      be priced at, sell for, be valued at, fetch, come to, amount to, be
      View synonyms
  • knock something back

    • 1Consume a drink quickly.

      • ‘The recommended way to enjoy soju or sake, the national drinks of South Korea and Japan, is by quickly knocking them back in short, small shots.’
      • ‘She poured herself a glass of wine and knocked it back and poured another, then turned to face him.’
      • ‘Four out of 10 men, it said, and two out of 10 women regularly knock back at least a bottle of wine in one session to land them in the binge-drinker category.’
      • ‘True beer aficionados know damn well there's more to enjoying a good brew than just knocking it back with detached abandon - sip, gulp, belch.’
      • ‘Drinkers across the social spectrum are knocking it back like never before and the pressure to join in has never been stronger.’
      • ‘Vodka was limited mostly to the liquor cabinets of Eastern Europe until World War II, when Americans and the rest of Europe started knocking it back.’
      • ‘We clinked glasses and I knocked my drink back, feeling the burn in my throat and the warmth in my stomach.’
      • ‘Some bars sell highballs for as little as 75 cents, allowing some people to knock them back like there's no tomorrow.’
      • ‘Once again Hemingway mechanically picks up his glass, knocks it back in a single gulp, and slams it back down.’
      • ‘Pandora settled down again and enjoyed the mood: everyone was chatting or drinking, mostly vodka, knocking it back like Perrier water.’
      swallow, gulp down, drink up, swill down, swill, quaff, guzzle, toss off, consume, finish
      View synonyms
    • 2Work risen dough by vigorous kneading to expel air before baking.

      • ‘In the morning, I knock it back and leave it to prove again before baking.’
  • knock someone down (or over)

    • (especially of a vehicle) strike or collide with someone so as to cause them to fall to the ground.

      ‘I was nearly knocked down by a bus’
      • ‘My five-year-old daughter was nearly knocked down by a man driving a van and chatting on the phone.’
      • ‘A child who was standing by the roadside with his mother also died after he was knocked down by one of the vehicles.’
      • ‘The pedestrian went over the bonnet of a car after she was knocked down by a driver who had taken his friend's vehicle, the court was told.’
      • ‘The two boys jumped on him and knocked him down to the carpeted floor.’
      • ‘A villager managed to film the attack before he was knocked down, his camera smashed and his arm broken.’
      fell, floor, flatten, bring down, prostrate, topple, knock to the ground, throw to the ground, rugby-tackle
      View synonyms
  • knock something down

    • 1Demolish a building or other structure.

      ‘the closely packed terraced houses were knocked down in the interests of 'progress'’
      • ‘They thought knocking the building down and replacing it with a new one would be a cheaper option.’
      • ‘It followed reports that the premises might not be re-opened by the new owners as a meat slaughtering facility but would be knocked down and sold as a development site.’
      • ‘He told the Institute of Chartered Accountants that it would cost far less to refurbish ‘characterful’ buildings than knock them down.’
      • ‘Only he failed to get planning permission and last week successfully fought a bid by the local council to knock it down.’
      • ‘Some of the former police houses have already been knocked down and work has begun on the demolition of the old custody area.’
      • ‘Unable to pay the £2.3m in repair costs or sell the near-ruin, he succeeded in getting planning permission from Perth and Kinross Council to knock the building down.’
      • ‘Mr Overton's showroom and workshop, a former hairdressing salon and a garage will all be knocked down in the summer of 2006 should plans go forward.’
      • ‘A decision was taken to knock the old building down.’
      • ‘After discovering a serious crack in one of the gable walls, they decided instead to knock the house down and rebuild it.’
      • ‘The three options for Greenroyd Avenue available to the council are to leave things as they are, partly demolish the street, or knock the whole lot down.’
      • ‘The current owners, Ben Alder Estate, want to knock down the dilapidated building to construct workshops.’
      • ‘If the developer purchases the land it is believed he will either use the garages for the new properties or will knock the buildings down to create garden space for more marketable homes.’
      • ‘Some people are buying bungalows on the seafront, knocking them down and building another property.’
      • ‘Why knock these amazing buildings down when they can be refurbished using some great modern architecture?’
      demolish, pull down, bring down, take down, tear down, destroy
      View synonyms
    • 2(at an auction) confirm the sale of an article to a bidder by a knock with a hammer.

      • ‘On Sunday, November 3 a large crowd turned out as auctioneer Matt Dunne set to with the gavel to knock items down to the highest bidder.’
      1. 2.1informal Reduce the price of an article.
        • ‘My colleague and two people at the next table bought one each so were able to knock the price down a little bit.’
        • ‘On Apr. 14, IBM shocked the market by announcing disappointing earnings, which knocked its stock down 6%.’
        • ‘On the day of exchange they knocked the price down by £85,000.’
        • ‘Shipments of PalmSource-based devices dropped 13.3 per cent, knocking its share down from 22.5 per cent to 9.5 per cent.’
        • ‘Originally priced $35, it was knocked down to $30.’
        • ‘The vandalism and burglaries in the area are knocking house prices down.’
        • ‘We frequently see cases whereby no bidders emerge, even when the price is knocked down to the reserve.’
        • ‘When the salesman found out I was military, he started knocking the price down.’
        • ‘Depreciation should have knocked the price down to just about zero.’
        • ‘Then he knocked the figure down by 30%. ‘I think a lot of my peers earn too much,’ he says.’
        reduce, lower, cut, decrease, bring down, drop, put down, diminish, mark down
        View synonyms
    • 3Earn a specified sum as a wage.

    • 4Spend a pay cheque freely.

  • knock off

    • Stop work.

      • ‘The typical Australian working day starts in the sunshine at 8am, and shortly after everyone knocks off at 4pm, the parks will be full of men chucking a ball about until the sun goes down.’
      • ‘They worked on the project three or four afternoons a week, knocking off around five to drink beer and talk.’
      • ‘After a frantic week at work I am planning on knocking off a little early today.’
      • ‘I think I'll knock off for the day and have a nice cup of coffee.’
      • ‘Why can't they have patrols instead of knocking off from work early in the day.’
      stop work, finish work, finish working, clock off, close shop, shut down, leave work, finish the working day
      View synonyms
  • knock someone off

    • 1Kill someone.

      • ‘In fact, I strongly suspect he's concocting a game of his own which involves knocking off family members one by one.’
      • ‘In that film, McCormack is a devilish child who begins knocking off fellow classmates and even the family gardener when they dare to get in her way.’
      • ‘The plot has a vengeful wife determined to knock off her philandering husband…, but the fellow proves strangely indestructible.’
      • ‘They started robbing graves but found the demand for bodies outstripped supply so they started knocking off Edinburgh lowlifes who they reasoned would not be missed.’
      kill, murder, assassinate, do to death, do away with, make away with, get rid of, dispose of, eliminate, liquidate, terminate, finish off
      View synonyms
    • 2Have sexual intercourse with a woman.

      have sexual intercourse, have sexual intercourse with, make love, make love to, sleep together, sleep with, go to bed together, go to bed with
      View synonyms
  • knock something off

    • 1Produce a piece of work quickly and without much effort.

      • ‘The boys amble about swapping melodies whilst knocking off a string of sunshine West Coast pop hits with unerring ease.’
      • ‘I've been up for an hour or so knocking off a couple of pieces two whole days before the deadline.’
    • 2Deduct an amount from a total.

      ‘when the bill came they knocked off £600 because of a little scratch’
      • ‘The food was bad, though, and we sent it back and they knocked the charge off our bill.’
      • ‘And don't forget to mention that immobilizer and alarm - they could each knock 10% off your quote.’
      • ‘A slightly more restrictive exhaust system knocks 5 hp off the engine's 220 hp output.’
      • ‘The argument is that it will save the consumers on the their weekly shopping bill, knocking about 500 off the total annual grocery bill.’
      • ‘Most economists' models are built on what happened in the '70s, and they tell us basically that each $US 10 rise in the oil price knocks about 0.5 per cent off economic growth.’
      • ‘The government is now trying to persuade its largest creditors to knock some $4 billion off that figure.’
      • ‘Opting for third-party insurance consistently knocks about a third off the cost of your premium.’
      • ‘Economists have calculated that a $10 a barrel rise in oil prices knocks about 0.5 percentage points off world growth after 12 to 18 months.’
      • ‘The very least they could do is knock a few pounds off our electricity bills, just as a gesture of good faith.’
      • ‘Turn down your central heating: a one-degree adjustment on your thermostat could knock hundreds of pounds off your fuel bill.’
      deduct, take off, subtract, take away, dock, debit, remove
      View synonyms
    • 3Steal something.

      • ‘She'd heard about all the trouble we'd been having with vandals and thieves knocking our gear off, so she said she would feel safer if the posters were inside.’
      steal, purloin, take, make off with, abscond with, pilfer, misappropriate
      View synonyms
      1. 3.1North American Rob a shop or similar establishment.
        • ‘If their children develop behavioral disorders at school, drop out, turn to drugs and begin knocking off 7-Elevens—they won't be surprised.’
        • ‘First they're nicking comic books, then knocking off whole banks!’
      2. 3.2Make an illegal copy of a product.
        • ‘Oh, well, they'll probably sell a load of them at that price before some knocks it off for $5.’
  • knock on

    • 1Grow old.

      ‘she's knocking on a bit’
      • ‘Henning was always a great defender, even when he was knocking on a bit.’
      • ‘He's a hard-bitten, funny character who admits that he's knocking on.’
    • 2Illegally drive the ball with the hand or arm towards the opponents' goal line.

      • ‘For a moment it looked as if he had knocked the ball on but referee Changleng got the thumbs up from the touch judge and the try was awarded.’
      • ‘The visitors had two tries disallowed, the first by Webster, who knocked the ball on when gathering and dotting down on the stroke of halftime.’
      • ‘Chris Spencer drove through the Elland defence but was judged to have knocked on after crossing the line.’
      • ‘Neil Back escaped with a warning after deliberately knocking the ball on, just out of Burke's penalty reach.’
      • ‘Rugby is a free flowing game and the play will only stop when somebody knocks the ball on or gives away a penalty.’
  • knock someone out

    • 1Make a person unconscious, typically with a blow to the head.

      • ‘The blow didn't knock her out, but she crashed to the floor and struggled for breath.’
      • ‘The injured police officers mostly suffered broken bones while one was knocked out after being hit by a flying brick.’
      • ‘Scottsdale went down next; a blow to his head knocked him out cold.’
      • ‘The blows knocked me out and the last thing I remember was him screaming: ‘It's all your fault!’’
      • ‘I took my eye off the road and walked into a lampost, knocking myself out.’
      • ‘She's on some mixture of antibiotics and cold medicine that knocks her out for hours at a time.’
      • ‘The only reason I could think of that she wouldn't answer me would be if she was injured or knocked out.’
      • ‘He fell back through the air, slamming his head into the ground hard enough to knock himself out.’
      • ‘He fell, knocked himself out and lay unconscious for hours.’
      • ‘So I took some medicine which knocked me out and I slept until 9am.’
      stun, strike unconscious, knock unconscious, render unconscious, knock senseless, stupefy, daze, lay out, floor, prostrate, level
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Knock down (a boxer) for a count of ten, thereby winning the contest.
        • ‘In 1959, London had been knocked out in 11 rounds by Patterson in Indianapolis.’
        • ‘In a fight similar to Frazier's destruction of Bob Foster, Tyson knocked Spinks out in the first round.’
        • ‘Just for the record, I picked Frazier to knock Foreman out in 1973.’
        • ‘Remember, Holyfield predicted that he would knock Lewis out in the third round.’
        • ‘I have not a doubt that had Foreman and Tyson fought anytime between 1990 and 1997 that Foreman would have knocked Tyson out inside of three rounds.’
      2. 1.2informal Work so hard that one is exhausted.
        • ‘If knocking myself out to achieve success will bring me that kind of happiness, forget it!’
        • ‘Other times I knock myself out trying too hard to be nice to people.’
        • ‘Our sales reps are constantly out there training and supporting retailers, doing store openings and just knocking themselves out to help dealers.’
        • ‘I can see I'm unlikely to get all the paintings done I'd hoped to, unless I really knock myself out.’
        • ‘Still, compared to important experiences like meeting my husband and having my kids, having lots of money doesn't seem to be an experience worth knocking yourself out for.’
        • ‘We get paid the same money without knocking ourselves out.’
        • ‘After a long, discouraging period, she asked a friend, ‘What am I knocking myself out for with guys?’’
        • ‘It's a truism that career ladders are based on the traditional male life plan - he knocks himself out in his 20s and 30s while his wife raises the kids, mends his socks and types his papers.’
        work hard, labour, work one's fingers to the bone, work like a trojan, work like a dog, work day and night, exert oneself, keep at it, keep one's nose to the grindstone, grind away, slave away, grub away, plough away, plod away
        View synonyms
      3. 1.3informal Astonish or greatly impress someone.
        • ‘The Hollywood Reporter stated that ‘this movie knocks you out with an astonishing blend of hyper-realism, visual complexity and powerful themes’.’
        • ‘And having guys who give me that, and bring me lovely presents… Well, it just really knocks me out sometimes.’
        • ‘This is the kind of movie that knocks you out with the buildings alone.’
        • ‘You know, in his novel The Fourth Hand, Irving does something so great, it just knocked me out.’
        • ‘The Corolla had already knocked me out with its exquisite style and luxury, its perfectly pitched sense of fun, its innovative design.’
        • ‘‘I am knocked out by it - really stunned,’ said Josephine, whose award marks Adult Learners Week in the Eastern region.’
        • ‘At that gig, they just blew me away, just knocked me out.’
        overwhelm, overpower, stun, stupefy, amaze, astound, astonish, stagger, take someone's breath away, leave someone open-mouthed, dumbfound, confound, take aback
        View synonyms
    • 2Defeat a competitor in a knockout competition.

      ‘England had been knocked out of the World Cup’
      • ‘Andre Agassi was knocked out of the French Open in the second round.’
      • ‘Even though he's Scottish, he was genuinely gutted when England were knocked out of Euro 2000.’
      • ‘The team took the opposition down to the wire and were knocked out in a dramatic penalty shoot out.’
      • ‘Julian Joachim scored twice as Boston knocked Swindon out of the cup at York Street with a 4-1 victory.’
      • ‘When Brazil were knocked out of the Olympic Games quarter-finals in Sydney two years ago, public opinion demanded the politicians investigate.’
      • ‘Porto took advantage of a bad offside decision and a horrendous goalkeeping error to knock Manchester United out of the Champions League.’
      • ‘Inside the pub at Cambridge Circus, the final whistle blew as Arsenal knocked United out of the FA Cup.’
      • ‘Last Thursday, Newcastle were knocked out of the UEFA Cup.’
      • ‘The tie also gives Liverpool a chance for revenge as they were knocked out of the competition by the Germans on a 4-3 aggregate at the quarter-final stage in 2002.’
      • ‘A record six Premiership sides were knocked out of the FA Cup by lower league opposition yesterday.’
      View synonyms
  • knock something out

    • 1Destroy, damage, or disable a machine or piece of equipment.

      ‘the fault disabled two backup systems and knocked out the computer’
      • ‘Lightning caused chaos in York today, striking two houses and knocking out rail signalling equipment to bring trains to a halt.’
      • ‘A bolt of lightning hit the plane, knocking out the engine.’
      • ‘Telephone services have been knocked out in several parts of the capital.’
      • ‘The guerrillas sabotaged a dam producing a third of the country's electricity, knocking out power in the nation's capital.’
      • ‘On Prince Edward Island, the storm knocked out power and sank boats at the Charlottetown yacht club.’
      • ‘The explosion had knocked out his ship's engines and sent him on an uncontrollable spin.’
      • ‘Water and sewage lines were heavily damaged and electricity in the area was knocked out after the main transformer was hit.’
      • ‘The earthquake also knocked out power lines on the island.’
      • ‘The explosion damaged the right engine and flight controls, knocking out both hydraulic systems.’
      • ‘Tragically, the hit knocked out power and radio contact with the three escort ships.’
      • ‘In 1989 a solar flare that hit the Earth directly actually knocked out a whole power grid in Quebec.’
    • 2Produce work at a steady fast rate.

      ‘if you knock out a thousand words a day you'll soon have finished’
      • ‘They have been knocking out folk classics since 1975 and have performed in a variety of clubs across the county.’
      • ‘They became the country version of The Rat Pack, getting into trouble together and knocking out hit after hit.’
      • ‘It was taking me about 3-4 weeks a month to write each script, and she told me how very foolish this was, when I could have knocked them out and been making real money.’
    • 3Empty a tobacco pipe by tapping it against a surface.

    • 4Earn a specified sum of money.

  • knock someone over

    • (especially of a vehicle) strike or collide with someone so as to cause them to fall to the ground.

      ‘a boy on a bike knocked him over and broke his glasses’
  • knock something over

    • Rob a shop or similar establishment.

      • ‘If their children develop behavioral disorders at school, drop out, turn to drugs and begin knocking off 7-Elevens—they won't be surprised.’
      • ‘First they're nicking comic books, then knocking off whole banks!’
      • ‘If I'd knocked over a liquor store that day instead of accepting John's offer, I'd have been out of prison and off parole long before now.’
  • knock someone sideways

    • Astonish someone.

      • ‘The sheer wealth and size and richness of America knocked me sideways.’
      • ‘When they performed this on TOTP, I was knocked sideways.’
      • ‘But Preston were knocked sideways by the shock of seeing their impregnable lead suddenly wiped out.’
      • ‘That said, most of what he plays washes over me these days - but once in a while, something comes along and knocks you sideways.’
      • ‘Every now and then, something came up which would completely knock you sideways.’
      overwhelm, overpower, stun, stupefy, amaze, astound, astonish, stagger, take someone's breath away, leave someone open-mouthed, dumbfound, confound, take aback
      View synonyms
  • knock something together

    • Assemble something in a hasty and makeshift way.

      • ‘First-aid and tool kits were knocked together from bits and pieces, and numerous repairs and modifications made the boat safer and diving from her easier.’
      • ‘He's knocking some tracks together and trying to get an album together at the moment.’
      • ‘He responded that as the questions were largely what might pop into the head of whoever knocked the survey together, one should perhaps not read too much into them.’
      • ‘One evening we arrived at his home and found his wife had not returned from a meeting so I knocked together a salad for us from the contents of their fridge.’
      • ‘I've knocked together a little Perl script.’
      • ‘You can't just knock these things together in a couple of hours.’
      • ‘It would take him no time at all to knock together a chicken coop and it's not like they don't have enough room for it.’
      • ‘I knocked a nice dinner together - thick-cut ham, bubble & squeak, tomato salad and baked beans, followed by a pot of black cherry yoghurt - and enjoyed it greatly.’
      • ‘He picks up a 3 - D model which looks like something a Blue Peter presenter might have knocked together out of chicken wire, and peers at me through it.’
      • ‘Well, they did manage to knock together a business plan and get a grant from Inverness Enterprise.’
  • knock up

    • (in a racket game) practise before formal play begins.

      • ‘The idea came when they were knocking up one day last June on the grass courts at Roehampton.’
      • ‘She knocks up with England's seventh seed Elena Baltacha and recently had the chance to play doubles with British number one Tim Henman when he visited the sports centre.’
      • ‘The players are on court and are knocking up.’
      warm up, practise, have a practice game, hit a ball around
      View synonyms
  • knock someone up

    • 1Wake or attract the attention of someone by knocking at their door.

      • ‘Eventually, after having no luck at all with the key, I had to go next door and knock them up.’
      • ‘Some were formal duties, such as inspecting weights and measures or inspecting bridges, others were informal, such as knocking people up early in the morning for work.’
      • ‘I'll knock you up at five to seven and I'd like you downstairs for breakfast at seven sharp.’
      • ‘One Lib Dem peer was pounding the pavements all day, knocking up voters.’
      wake, wake up, waken, awaken, call, rouse, arouse, get out of bed, get up
      View synonyms
    • 2Make a woman pregnant.

      make pregnant, impregnate, inseminate
      View synonyms
  • knock something up

    • 1Make something in a hurry.

      • ‘So anyway I texted this bird called Blánaid and asked her would she like, write something and she's like, ‘Sure, no problem, I'll knock something up for you.’’
      • ‘From time to time Harry might benefit from knocking up simple but wholesome meals based on fresh produce such as organic meat or fish with some fresh vegetables.’
      • ‘OK the bar man didn't know what a Singapore Sling was but he still managed to improvise and knock something up for us.’
      • ‘Bea's supreme of chicken with wild mushroom risotto was, she declared, something she could have knocked up in 10 minutes at home.’
      • ‘I don't think I have ever seen a film shot entirely with a hand-held camera that didn't feel as if it had been knocked up over the weekend for 300 quid.’
      • ‘Britain's top food writer knocks up a quick cassoulet, plus dishes for vegetarians’
      • ‘While chatting with me, Kumar knocked up a delicious meal for six in my less than state-of-the-art kitchen.’
      • ‘Top site of the day has to be the license plate maker over at, which knocks up American car license plates (hence the spelling) from any state and any year, with whatever you want them to say.’
      • ‘I'll knock something up about Solaris if you want; it's all I've seen of Tarkovsky so far, but it's marvellous.’
      make quickly, put together quickly, prepare hastily, build rapidly, whip up, rig up, jerry-build, throw together, cobble together, improvise, devise, contrive
      View synonyms
    • 2Score runs rapidly.

      • ‘In first class games, Harvey has knocked up 5,745 runs with nine centuries and 32 half-centuries and has captured 332 wickets.’
      • ‘Waugh hit six fours and one six in his innings, knocking up his 38th test half-century in the process.’
      • ‘He is certainly capable of knocking up two or three centuries and that will do Yorkshire and himself a power of good.’
      • ‘The former Nottinghamshire player took three for 60 off 18 overs as Mirfield knocked up 194.’
      • ‘Durham are proving to be this summer's surprise package and there was no doubting their superiority as they bowled out Yorkshire for 205 after knocking up 256 for four.’
      achieve, attain, accomplish, gain, win, succeed in making, reach, make, get, obtain
      View synonyms


Old English cnocian, of imitative origin.