Definition of knock in English:



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

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

    ‘he deliberately ran into her, knocking her shoulder’
    [no object] ‘he knocked into an elderly man’
    • ‘The window suddenly swung open inside, the frame knocking him hard on the chin and sending him sprawling on his back.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘About five of the guys sneered at me while the others ‘accidentally’ knocked into my side.’
    • ‘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. 2.1Force to move or fall with a deliberate or accidental blow or collision.
      ‘he'd knocked over a glass of water’
      • ‘She took a step forward and was nearly knocked over by a large man rushing past her.’
      • ‘There are fears the 92-year-old building could be knocked down to make way for a housing scheme.’
      • ‘I stood up quickly, knocking my chair over in the process.’
      • ‘The storm knocked down trees and power lines in the area.’
      • ‘I squeaked in surprise, flinging my hand sideways and knocking half a dozen books off the shelf.’
      • ‘He was hit from behind and knocked to the ground.’
      • ‘He gasped as the wind was knocked out of his lungs.’
      • ‘A cyclist was knocked off his bike on Brook Hill a couple of weeks ago.’
      • ‘Neighbours were beaten back by flames after knocking down the front door.’
      • ‘He was knocked unconscious and robbed in a vicious attack near Trowbridge Park.’
      • ‘A woman was left lying injured after being knocked down by a child riding an off-road motorbike on the pavement.’
      • ‘Suddenly the boat shifted and moved, throwing her to her knees and almost knocking Wes into the water.’
      • ‘A new youth shelter being built in Hutton recreation area has been knocked down by vandals even before it is completed.’
      • ‘As she was reaching across the table, she accidentally knocked over her glass of Coke.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The court heard Mr Smedley was knocked to the floor before his attackers kicked him twice in the stomach.’
      • ‘On the east coast, television pictures showed bricks and tiles had been knocked from some buildings, but there were no indications of serious damage.’
      • ‘Suddenly something struck him hard, knocking him to one side.’
      • ‘Two lamps had been knocked over and broken glass covered the floor.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 2.2Injure or damage by striking.
      ‘she knocked her knee painfully on the table’
      figurative ‘you have had a setback that has knocked your self-esteem’
      • ‘Ruth fell and knocked her head quite hard on the table.’
      • ‘He knocked my forehead hard, which gave a great deal of pain.’
      • ‘Do comments like that spur you on to drive harder or do they knock your confidence?’
      • ‘Tom jolted out of his dream, wincing as he knocked his elbow against the bedpost.’
      • ‘I sat up quickly and promptly knocked my head on the overhang.’
      • ‘I charged at him, but the boy knocked me hard in the ribs, throwing me back.’
      • ‘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 stumbled to my feet, knocking my knee against a corner of the table.’
      bump, bang, hit, strike, crack
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3Make (a hole or a dent) in something by striking it forcefully.
      ‘he suggests we knock a hole through the wall into the broom closet’
      • ‘This is particularly clever for old buildings where knocking new holes through walls can be tricky.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That's right: if your landlord complains that you're knocking holes in the walls, he or she is too strict.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Thieves knocked a hole in the shop wall before making off with equipment valued at about £11,000.’
      • ‘Anywhere in the area of Amalfi or Ravello, 10 minutes in a taxi will knock a £20 hole in your pocket.’
      • ‘Just down the walk, I found a hole knocked in a garden wall and a hundred bricks missing.’
      • ‘Ms Waterman says asbestos entered their flat through a hole which builders knocked in their wall.’
      • ‘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.’
    4. 2.4Demolish the barriers between (rooms or buildings)
      ‘two of the downstairs rooms had been knocked into one’
      • ‘It's a bit of a Tardis - two townhouses knocked together, with a long gallery at the back where the garden used to be.’
      • ‘Three Georgian townhouses were knocked together in the 1970s when Edinburgh's planning regulations were looser.’
      • ‘To the right are two further rooms which could be knocked into one.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Georgieva gestures around her office, which consists of two rooms knocked into one.’
      • ‘The café looks as if it had been two rooms knocked into one.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Lord Rogers does live in London - he has two Georgian terrace houses knocked together in Chelsea.’
      • ‘It consists of the former Egyptian embassy and a one-time annexe to Russia's embassy knocked together.’
    5. 2.5informal Talk disparagingly about; criticize.
      • ‘I'm not knocking the company, but it's going to be too small for institutional investors.’
      • ‘That's because whenever they do, they never offer any praise, they will just jump straight in and start knocking what I've done.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Critics knock the X3 for its austere interior, but most BMWs tend toward the spartan.’
      • ‘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.’
      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


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

    • ‘I jumped as a sharp knock sounded at my door.’
    • ‘He opened his mouth to speak but was interrupted by a sudden knock at the door.’
    • ‘He heard another knock and the soft sound of a doorknob being turned.’
    • ‘He smiled and leaned down to kiss her, frowning as a sudden knock sounded on the door.’
    • ‘The sound of a knock at the door woke him from his reverie, and he walked quickly downstairs.’
    • ‘Justin heard loud knocks coming from the front door.’
    • ‘There was another knock, this time louder, then the sound of the door opening.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A sharp knock sounded at the door, interrupting their conversation.’
    • ‘There was a loud, hard knock at the door.’
    • ‘He nearly jumped out of his skin when the knock sounded at the door.’
    • ‘There was no reply, just another knock, louder than the first.’
    • ‘All of a sudden there was a knock at the front door.’
    • ‘As Willow was about to speak, a loud knock sounded on the door.’
    • ‘About two minutes later, there was a short knock at the cabin door.’
    • ‘At half-past six on the dot, 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.’
    • ‘She was gazing into the mirror, not really paying attention to the task at hand when a knock sounded at the 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.’
    • ‘She was walking towards her bedroom when a knock sounded on the door.’
    tap, rap, rat-tat, rat-tat-tat, knocking, bang, banging, beating, pounding, hammering, drumming, thump, thud
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A continual thumping or rattling sound made by an engine because of improper ignition.
      • ‘This is used to determine when to adjust ignition timing to control knock. - CAS’
      • ‘Petrol fuels contain a host of additives to enhance octane rating, lower engine knock and counteract water.’
      • ‘Lucas oil Octane Booster eliminates spark knocks, pinging, and dieseling while promoting clean fuel burn for fewer emissions and better mileage.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2A blow or collision.

    ‘the casing is tough enough to withstand knocks’
    • ‘One swift knock to the head knocked the guy out, and we left.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 Rams' only other injury worry is over Chris Clarke, who took a knock to a leg during the game at Flixton.’
    • ‘Bumps and knocks to the head are quite common, particularly among children.’
    • ‘Gashes and knocks that would put a professional footballer out of action for weeks tend to be shrugged off.’
    • ‘The bumps, jarring and knocks can damage the helmet.’
    • ‘He suffered a bad knock on the head in the second half.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Chelsea could be without William Gallas, who suffered a knock against Villa.’
    • ‘While the shell does protect the phone's internal components from everyday knocks and bumps, it is not waterproof, merely water resistant.’
    • ‘A player just took a hard knock to the head and is lying on the field.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At no stage during the match could he recall having sustained a knock to his head.’
    • ‘The front wings are plastic and can withstand 15 km/h knocks without damage which reduces repairs.’
    • ‘Since one wall was completely knocked down two weeks ago, two more knocks have left the other cracked and weakened.’
    • ‘Jonathan Smith is expected to undergo a fitness test after sustaining a knock to his knee on Sunday.’
    bump, blow, bang, striking, beating, jolt, jar, jarring, shock
    blow, bang, stroke, hit, slap, smack, crack, buffet, punch, cuff, thump, box
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1An injury caused by a blow or collision.
      • ‘He picked up a knock after an early collision with Michael Owen and limped off 15 minutes later.’
      • ‘But Henry dismissed the injuries as minor knocks and vowed every member of the touring party would be fit for the three-Test battle against the world champions next month.’
      • ‘Richard Walton could also miss out with a back injury but Ian Simpson should have recovered from a knock to take his place in the side.’
      • ‘Ronny Johnsen is also doubtful after he came off at half-time with an ankle knock.’
      • ‘Obviously whenever I do pick up an injury or a knock, people tend to highlight it.’
    2. 2.2A discouraging experience; a setback.
      ‘the region's industries have taken a severe knock’
      • ‘But this appeal has suffered two huge knocks of late.’
      • ‘Scotland has become a harsher place and our image as a tolerant and open minded nation has taken a severe knock.’
      • ‘From Australia's point of view, having got so close and then losing was a big knock.’
      • ‘The party has taken greater knocks in its history than this minor set-back.’
      • ‘In a nutshell, I hadn't suffered the same hard knocks and had little chance of knowing what was really important in life.’
      • ‘As the weeks passed, it became ever harder to make ends meet and a £140 servicing for Vivienne's car was 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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I've suffered a lot of knocks over the years, but I've survived them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the past couple of years, profits at many companies have taken a severe knock.’
      • ‘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.’
      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
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3informal A critical comment.
      • ‘The only knock is he lacks experience against elite-level 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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
      View synonyms


  • knock someone's block off

    • informal Hit someone very hard in anger.

      • ‘The young man turned to look at me, and for a second there, I thought he was going to knock my block off.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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 get home from school a few days later and my mother is looking like she wants to knock my block off.’
      • ‘He told Bellamy he would knock his block off if he ever set foot back in Newcastle.’
      • ‘If I were that age - I'd knock his block off if I were his ‘so-called’ teammate.’
      • ‘I'd like to see it myself, except that someone would probably recognize me and try to knock my block off.’
      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, give someone a good beating, give someone a good drubbing, box someone's ears
      View synonyms
  • knock the bottom out of

  • knock someone dead

    • informal Greatly impress someone.

      • ‘We've got an answering machine gag that seems to knock them dead every time.’
      • ‘‘You're going to knock them dead,’ she stated firmly, ‘and you're more handsome than any of those actors.’’
      • ‘I am 5ft 8in, size 8, and want to wear something that will knock him dead.’
      • ‘Mandy Siegfried proves herself a young comedienne who'll duly knock them dead from Mineola to Minnesota.’
      • ‘Good luck for tonight: I'm sure you'll knock 'em 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.’
      • ‘Wear the pink strapless shirt in my second drawer - you'll knock him dead.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’’
  • knock someone for six

  • knock someone for a loop

  • knock people's heads together

  • knock something into a cocked hat

    • Utterly defeat or outdo something.

      • ‘It knocked the idea of the perfect guru into a cocked hat.’
      • ‘She wasn't religious but the way she lived her life would knock the morals of most religious people into a cocked hat.’
      • ‘He knocks all those criteria firmly into a cocked hat.’
      • ‘Commercially, the Beijing Olympics knocks the FIFA World Cup, which started on Friday, into a cocked hat.’
      • ‘Well, the local medical practice have just managed to knock that malarkey into a cocked hat, believe me.’
      • ‘Three or four of you playing against each other in the same room still knocks online play into a cocked hat any day of the week.’
      • ‘It is also one of the finest police comics of recent times, knocking the rest of the books in the genre into a cocked hat.’
      • ‘Several of you have written in saying that other countries can not only match England's tally, they can knock it into a cocked hat.’
      • ‘He has the skill and style to knock the typical Booker Prize-winner into a cocked hat.’
      • ‘Yes, there's nothing I like better than paying good money to see a load of plays that knock mine into a cocked hat.’
  • knock someone into the middle of next week

    • informal Hit someone very hard.

  • knock someone/something into shape

  • knock it off

    • informal Used to tell someone to stop doing something that one finds annoying or foolish.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      stop it
      cut it out, give it a rest, leave off, pack it in, lay off, quit
      give over
      View synonyms
  • knock someone on the head

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

      • ‘If you knocked someone on the head and stole their wallet you would be punished.’
      • ‘Trying to break up a fight between his girlfriend and another girl, he was knocked on the head and then stabbed.’
      • ‘Godfrey had predicted prior to his disappearance that he would be knocked on the head.’
      • ‘Before Mackenzie could react, she was 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.’
      • ‘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 on wood

    • Said in order to prevent a confident statement from bringing bad luck.

      ‘I haven't been banned yet, knock on wood’
      • ‘And so hopefully, you know, knock on wood, we'll get to do a second season, and that will be one for next year.’
      • ‘I used direct deposit, it hasn't been a problem as of yet, knock on wood.’
      • ‘On the other hand people still avoid walking under ladders and knock on wood and cross their fingers in order to guard there luck.’
      • ‘So far we have only had one trip to York District Hospital (fingers crossed, touch wood and spit for luck) after he ran head first into the fireplace and got a bruised lump roughly the size of a pickled egg on his noggin.’
      • ‘I did have to call a moratorium on all the email I'd accumulated but I think (fingers crossed, touch wood, any other superstitious luck gatherer you can think of) that I'm just about sorted.’
      • ‘He would throw salt over his shoulder and knock on wood just for good luck, I didn't learn this until I lived with him.’
      • ‘We haven't had a fatal accident in the village yet, touch wood, but we don't want to sit back and wait for that to happen.’
      • ‘This hasn't happened to me yet, touch wood, but you have only to approach a speed camera on a free-flowing road to realise that it must happen fairly often.’
      • ‘So at the moment, touch wood, we have not got reports of epidemics, but it would be foolish for us to assume that we're through the worst.’
      • ‘Although, knock on wood, I have never fallen victim to this affliction, I can think of few things scarier, and I very well may have a rush of fear like the one I'm experiencing right now this time every winter for the rest of my life.’
      hope for the best
      View synonyms
  • knock someone's socks off

  • 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘The first year was difficult, no doubt about it,’ admits this graduate from 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.’
      • ‘Many respondents indicated that valuable learning was only possible via hands-on training in 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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
      View synonyms
  • you could have knocked me (or her, him, etc.) down (or over) with a feather

    • informal Used to express great surprise.

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

Phrasal Verbs

  • knock around (or about)

    • 1Travel without a specific purpose.

      ‘for a couple of years she and I knocked around the Mediterranean’
      • ‘I should point out that despite several years of Spanish and some time knocking around in Germany, I'm a hopeless monoglot.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Weiss has been knocking around L.A. for decades, to the point that he's now considered a fixture on the scene.’
      • ‘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
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Happen to be present.
        ‘it gets confusing when there are too many people knocking about’
        • ‘There are loads of interesting foreigners knocking about.’
        • ‘There's a huge amount of real evidence knocking around that's being ignored by the media.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘The issue has been knocking around for years, but it came to a head in 2000.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Mind you, I don't have £130 or so knocking around, so it's a bit academic.’
        • ‘Suddenly songs that had been knocking around in his head for more than a decade were finding new life.’
      2. 1.2British Spend time with someone.
        ‘she knocked around with artists’
        • ‘He's a nice lad, so are the pals he knocks around with, so I just can't imagine why anyone would do this.’
        • ‘He spent several years working the circuit before heading out to Nashville where he knocked around with the up-and-coming country stars.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Des remembers fondly some of the expressions he learnt from mates he used to knock around with.’
        • ‘‘When I was about 12 I started knocking around with boys from school - just kissing and touching at first,’ she said.’
        • ‘Sometimes Robert's friend, 13-year-old Heather, would knock around with them.’
        • ‘I started knocking about with three people from the village.’
        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 someone or something by rough treatment.

      • ‘Being here made me realize what I was missing by being rough with you and knocking you around and flirting with other girls.’
      • ‘‘They chased after me and started knocking me about,’ she said.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A week in Adelaide with her had knocked Mum around fairly badly on an emotional level.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Your father was knocked about by the Depression, as nearly every man was, I suppose.’
      • ‘Turbulence was knocking around our noisy little twin-prop plane like a beach ball in a hurricane.’
      • ‘People get stirred up and aggressive and go home and knock their family about.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's good to see that getting knocked around last Fall helped get his priorities straight.’
      beat up, beat, batter, strike, hit, punch, thump, thrash, smack, slap, cuff, buffet, pummel, belabour
      maltreat, mistreat, abuse, ill-treat, ill-use, treat roughly, assault, attack, maul, manhandle
      injure, damage, cause injury to, hurt, harm, wound, bruise
      beat up on
      rough up, do over, lay into, lace into, give someone a hiding, clobber, clout, bash, belt, whack, wallop, sock, plug, deck
      View synonyms
  • knock something back

    • Consume a drink quickly and entirely.

      ‘we knocked back a few beers’
      • ‘Once again Hemingway mechanically picks up his glass, knocks it back in a single gulp, and slams it back down.’
      • ‘Drinkers across the social spectrum are knocking it back like never before and the pressure to join in has never been stronger.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Pandora settled down again and enjoyed the mood: everyone was chatting or drinking, mostly vodka, knocking it back like Perrier water.’
      • ‘We clinked glasses and I knocked my drink back, feeling the burn in my throat and the warmth in my stomach.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some bars sell highballs for as little as 75 cents, allowing some people to knock them back like there's no tomorrow.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She poured herself a glass of wine and knocked it back and poured another, then turned to face him.’
      swallow, gulp down, drink up, swill down, swill, quaff, guzzle, toss off, consume, finish
      down, swig
      get one's laughing gear round
      scarf, scarf down, scarf up, snarf, snarf down, snarf up, chug
      ingurgitate, bib
      View synonyms
  • knock someone down

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

      • ‘A child who was standing by the roadside with his mother also died after he was knocked down by one of the vehicles.’
      • ‘The two boys jumped on him and knocked him down to the carpeted floor.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My five-year-old daughter was nearly knocked down by a man driving a van and chatting on the phone.’
      • ‘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
      mug, attack, assault, set upon, beat up
      knock over, run over, run down
      View synonyms
  • knock something down

    • 1Demolish a building.

      • ‘Some people are buying bungalows on the seafront, knocking them down and building another property.’
      • ‘After discovering a serious crack in one of the gable walls, they decided instead to knock the house down and rebuild it.’
      • ‘The current owners, Ben Alder Estate, want to knock down the dilapidated building to construct workshops.’
      • ‘Why knock these amazing buildings down when they can be refurbished using some great modern architecture?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some of the former police houses have already been knocked down and work has begun on the demolition of the old custody area.’
      • ‘A decision was taken to knock the old building down.’
      • ‘Only he failed to get planning permission and last week successfully fought a bid by the local council to knock it down.’
      • ‘They thought knocking the building down and replacing it with a new one would be a cheaper option.’
      • ‘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.’
      demolish, pull down, bring down, take down, tear down, destroy
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Take machinery or furniture to pieces for transportation.
    • 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.
        • ‘Originally priced $35, it was knocked down to $30.’
        • ‘Depreciation should have knocked the price down to just about zero.’
        • ‘On Apr. 14, IBM shocked the market by announcing disappointing earnings, which knocked its stock down 6%.’
        • ‘We frequently see cases whereby no bidders emerge, even when the price is knocked down to the reserve.’
        • ‘My colleague and two people at the next table bought one each so were able to knock the price down a little bit.’
        • ‘Shipments of PalmSource-based devices dropped 13.3 per cent, knocking its share down from 22.5 per cent to 9.5 per cent.’
        • ‘The vandalism and burglaries in the area are knocking house prices down.’
        • ‘On the day of exchange they knocked the price down by £85,000.’
        • ‘When the salesman found out I was military, he started knocking the price down.’
        • ‘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.

  • knock off

    • Stop work.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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
      take a break, break, break off, rest, pause, stop, halt, finish
      call it a day, have a breather, take five
      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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The plot has a vengeful wife determined to knock off her philandering husband…, but the fellow proves strangely indestructible.’
      kill, murder, assassinate, do to death, do away with, make away with, get rid of, dispose of, eliminate, liquidate, terminate, finish off
      do in, bump off, top, polish off, croak, stiff
      waste, blow away, ice, off, rub out
      View synonyms
    • 2Have sexual intercourse with a woman.

  • knock something off

    • 1Produce a piece of work quickly and easily, especially to order.

      • ‘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.’
      produce, make, turn out, create, construct, assemble, fashion, put together, fabricate
      View synonyms
    • 2Deduct an amount from a total.

      ‘when the bill came, they knocked off $600 because of a little scratch’
      • ‘The argument is that it will save the consumers on the their weekly shopping bill, knocking about 500 off the total annual grocery bill.’
      • ‘The government is now trying to persuade its largest creditors to knock some $4 billion off that figure.’
      • ‘The food was bad, though, and we sent it back and they knocked the charge off our bill.’
      • ‘Turn down your central heating: a one-degree adjustment on your thermostat could knock hundreds of pounds off your fuel bill.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A slightly more restrictive exhaust system knocks 5 hp off the engine's 220 hp output.’
      • ‘The very least they could do is knock a few pounds off our electricity bills, just as a gesture of good faith.’
      • ‘Opting for third-party insurance consistently knocks about a third off the cost of your premium.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And don't forget to mention that immobilizer and alarm - they could each knock 10% off your quote.’
      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. 3.1Make 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 someone out

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

      • ‘So I took some medicine which knocked me out and I slept until 9am.’
      • ‘The blows knocked me out and the last thing I remember was him screaming: ‘It's all your fault!’’
      • ‘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 blow didn't knock her out, but she crashed to the floor and struggled for breath.’
      • ‘I took my eye off the road and walked into a lampost, knocking myself out.’
      • ‘The only reason I could think of that she wouldn't answer me would be if she was injured or knocked out.’
      • ‘He fell, knocked himself out and lay unconscious for hours.’
      • ‘He fell back through the air, slamming his head into the ground hard enough to knock himself out.’
      • ‘She's on some mixture of antibiotics and cold medicine that knocks her out for hours at a time.’
      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.
        • ‘Remember, Holyfield predicted that he would knock Lewis out in the third round.’
        • ‘In 1959, London had been knocked out in 11 rounds by Patterson in Indianapolis.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
      2. 1.2informal Work so hard that one is exhausted.
        • ‘Other times I knock myself out trying too hard to be nice to people.’
        • ‘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?’’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘If knocking myself out to achieve success will bring me that kind of happiness, forget it!’
        exhaust, wear out, tire out, overtire, overtax, tire, fatigue, weary, enervate, drain, sap, debilitate, enfeeble, prostrate
        View synonyms
      3. 1.3informal Astonish or greatly impress someone.
        • ‘The Corolla had already knocked me out with its exquisite style and luxury, its perfectly pitched sense of fun, its innovative design.’
        • ‘You know, in his novel The Fourth Hand, Irving does something so great, it just knocked me out.’
        • ‘At that gig, they just blew me away, just knocked me out.’
        • ‘‘I am knocked out by it - really stunned,’ said Josephine, whose award marks Adult Learners Week in the Eastern region.’
        • ‘The Hollywood Reporter stated that ‘this movie knocks you out with an astonishing blend of hyper-realism, visual complexity and powerful themes’.’
        • ‘This is the kind of movie that knocks you out with the buildings alone.’
        • ‘And having guys who give me that, and bring me lovely presents… Well, it just really knocks me out sometimes.’
        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 out

    • 1Destroy a machine or damage it so that it stops working.

      • ‘The earthquake also knocked out power lines on the island.’
      • ‘The explosion had knocked out his ship's engines and sent him on an uncontrollable spin.’
      • ‘Lightning caused chaos in York today, striking two houses and knocking out rail signalling equipment to bring trains to a halt.’
      • ‘In 1989 a solar flare that hit the Earth directly actually knocked out a whole power grid in Quebec.’
      • ‘On Prince Edward Island, the storm knocked out power and sank boats at the Charlottetown yacht club.’
      • ‘A bolt of lightning hit the plane, knocking out the engine.’
      • ‘The guerrillas sabotaged a dam producing a third of the country's electricity, knocking out power in the nation's capital.’
      • ‘Telephone services have been knocked out in several parts of the capital.’
      • ‘The explosion damaged the right engine and flight controls, knocking out both hydraulic systems.’
      • ‘Water and sewage lines were heavily damaged and electricity in the area was knocked out after the main transformer was hit.’
      • ‘Tragically, the hit knocked out power and radio contact with the three escort ships.’
      1. 1.1Destroy or disable enemy installations or equipment.
        • ‘His only option was to chase the enemy ships, and knock them out while they were still running.’
    • 2Produce work at a steady fast rate.

      ‘if you knock out a thousand words a day you'll soon have it 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.

  • knock someone over

  • knock something over

    • Rob a store or similar establishment.

      ‘they knocked over a liquor store’
      • ‘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!’
  • knock someone sideways

    • Astonish someone.

      • ‘But Preston were knocked sideways by the shock of seeing their impregnable lead suddenly wiped out.’
      • ‘The sheer wealth and size and richness of America knocked me sideways.’
      • ‘Every now and then, something came up which would completely knock you sideways.’
      • ‘When they performed this on TOTP, I was knocked sideways.’
      • ‘That said, most of what he plays washes over me these days - but once in a while, something comes along and knocks 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.

      • ‘He's knocking some tracks together and trying to get an album together at the moment.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You can't just knock these things together in a couple of hours.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I've knocked together a little Perl script.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Well, they did manage to knock together a business plan and get a grant from Inverness Enterprise.’
  • knock someone up

    • 1Make a woman pregnant.

      make pregnant, impregnate, inseminate
      View synonyms
    • 2Knock at someone's door.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Eventually, after having no luck at all with the key, I had to go next door and knock them up.’
      • ‘One Lib Dem peer was pounding the pavements all day, knocking up voters.’
      • ‘I'll knock you up at five to seven and I'd like you downstairs for breakfast at seven sharp.’
      wake, wake up, waken, awaken, call, rouse, arouse, get out of bed, get up
      View synonyms


Old English cnocian, of imitative origin.