knock the socks off


Also knock someone's socks off.

1

Overwhelm, bedazzle, or amaze someone, as in The young pianist knocked the socks off of the judges, or That display will knock their socks off. [Slang; mid-1800s]

2

Also, knock the spots off. Surpass or outdo completely, defeat. For example, These large chains have been knocking the socks off the small independent grocers, or Our team knocked the spots off them. The spots most likely allude to target practice with playing cards where the object is to shoot through all the pips, spots, or marks indicating the suit or numerical value of a playing card, but one authority holds that they were used in a horse-breeding context and meant “to be in the vanguard.” [Mid-1800s]

QUIZZES

THINK YOU’VE GOT A HANDLE ON THIS US STATE NICKNAME QUIZ?

Did you ever collect all those state quarters? Put them to good use on this quiz about curious state monikers and the facts around them.
Question 1 of 8
Mississippi’s nickname comes from the magnificent trees that grow there. What is it?
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.