Nearby words

  1. knobbly,
  2. knobby,
  3. knobcone pine,
  4. knobhead,
  5. knobkerrie,
  6. knock about,
  7. knock back,
  8. knock cold,
  9. knock dead,
  10. knock down


Origin of knock

before 1000; 1890–95 for def 4; Middle English knokken, knoken (v.), Old English cnocian, cnucian; cognate with Old Norse knoka to thump, knock

Related formsknock·less, adjectivere·knock, verbun·knocked, adjectiveun·knock·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for knock about

knock about

knock around


noun knockabout

a sailing vessel, usually sloop-rigged, without a bowsprit and with a single jib

adjective knockabout

rough; boisterousknockabout farce


/ (nɒk) /



Word Origin for knock

Old English cnocian, of imitative origin; related to Old Norse knoka to hit

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for knock about
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with knock about

knock about

Also, knock around.


Be rough or brutal with, maltreat, as in He was known to knock his wife about on a regular basis. [c. 1800]


Wander from place to place, as in They were knocking around Europe all summer. [Colloquial; c. 1830]


Discuss or consider, as in They met to knock about some new ideas. [Mid-1900s] Also see kick around.


In addition to the idioms beginning with knock

  • knock about
  • knock back
  • knock cold
  • knock dead
  • knock down
  • knock down with a feather
  • knock for a loop
  • knock into a cocked hat
  • knock it off
  • knock off
  • knock oneself out
  • knock on wood
  • knock out
  • knock over
  • knock over with a feather
  • knock someone's block off
  • knock someone's socks off
  • knock the bottom out of
  • knock the living daylights out of
  • knock the socks off
  • knock together
  • knock up

also see:

  • beat (knock) into someone's head
  • beat (knock) the living daylights out of
  • (knock) down to size
  • (knock) off someone's feet
  • school of hard knocks
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.