One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Destroy a machine or damage it so that it stops working.
- ‘On Prince Edward Island, the storm knocked out power and sank boats at the Charlottetown yacht club.’
- ‘Telephone services have been knocked out in several parts of the capital.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘A bolt of lightning hit the plane, knocking out the engine.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The explosion damaged the right engine and flight controls, knocking out both hydraulic systems.’
- ‘Lightning caused chaos in York today, striking two houses and knocking out rail signalling equipment to bring trains to a halt.’
- ‘The guerrillas sabotaged a dam producing a third of the country's electricity, knocking out power in the nation's capital.’
- ‘The earthquake also knocked out power lines on the island.’
- 1.1 Destroy or disable enemy installations or equipment.
- ‘His only option was to chase the enemy ships, and knock them out while they were still running.’
2informal Produce work at a steady fast rate.‘if you knock out a thousand words a day you'll soon have it finished’
- ‘They became the country version of The Rat Pack, getting into trouble together and knocking out hit after hit.’
- ‘They have been knocking out folk classics since 1975 and have performed in a variety of clubs across the county.’
- ‘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.
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