take down a notch

Also, take down a peg. Deflate or humble someone, as in He's so arrogant that I wish someone would take him down a notch, or That defeat took them down a peg. Both notch and peg in this idiom allude to a series, the former of indentations, the latter of knobs, used to raise or lower something. Specifically, peg alludes to the pegs used to lower a ship's colors. Their figurative use dates from the second half of the 1600s. Also see cut down, def. 4.

Nearby words

  1. take care of,
  2. take charge,
  3. take cover,
  4. take doing,
  5. take down,
  6. take effect,
  7. take exception to,
  8. take five,
  9. take flight,
  10. take for

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.