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[nok-uh-bout] /ˈnɒk əˌbaʊt/
Nautical. any of various fore-and-aft-rigged sailing vessels having a single jib bent to a stay from the stemhead, no bowsprit being used: usually rigged as a sloop.
something designed or suitable for rough or casual use, as a sturdy jacket, a secondhand car, etc.
a slapstick comedian or comedy.
Australian. an itinerant farm hand or ranch hand; an itinerant handyman.
British Archaic. wanderer.
suitable for rough use, as a garment:
a knockabout jacket and jeans.
characterized by knocking about; rough; boisterous.
knockabout comedy.
shiftless; aimless:
a knockabout kind of person.
Origin of knockabout
First recorded in 1875-80; noun, adj. use of verb phrase knock about Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for knockabout
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His life was a tragedy written in the terms of knockabout farce.

    The Moon and Sixpence W. Somerset Maugham
  • I present the idea, for what it may be worth, to the concoctors of knockabout turns.

  • As I said when I first came here, I have been a sort of a knockabout, a wanderer.

  • The two best rigs for this class of boat are the cat and knockabout.

    On Yachts and Yacht Handling Thomas Fleming Day
  • Herring and Phyllis could be seen hoisting the sails on the knockabout.

    The Seven Darlings Gouverneur Morris
  • Father gave me a knockabout two years ago, and I've had lots of fun in her.

    The Bachelors William Dana Orcutt
  • "I thought I'd take him out in the knockabout," Roger suggested.

    Flood Tide

    Sara Ware Bassett
  • I laugh at the knockabout brothers, I confess, so long as they are on the stage; but they do not convince me.

  • I suppose a knockabout like myself gets all the taste for the fine arts knocked out of him.

    A Frontier Mystery Bertram Mitford
Slang definitions & phrases for knockabout



  1. Casual; informal: These are my knockabout clothes (1880+)
  2. Noisy; raucous; crude: Beverly Hillbillies has knockabout humor/ in the contest of a knockabout comedy it's deeply offensive (1892+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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