- noun a sound made by hitting something
- verb to hit something
- verb to make a loud noise as the mixture of petrol and air in a petrol engine explodes, caused when the mixture is not rich enough in petrol
- noun a turn at batting by an individual or team; an inningsCitation ‘They will have to look to compiling well over 400, and very briskly, in their first knock to exert any pressure at all’ (John Sheppard, Sunday Times 8 July 1984)Citation ‘Crowe hit eight fours in his attacking knock’ (WCM January 1985)
- verb to kill. A recent, racier variant of knock off or hit.
- verb to have sex (with). A 300-year-old usage which has been rare since the early 1960s. It now survives mainly in variations such as knock off, knocked up or knocking shop.
- verb to criticise, disparage. The use of knock to mean deprecate is no longer, strictly speaking, slang; it has been employed in this sense since the 19th century.
- verb to cheat. An item of underworld slang.
- verb to steal. The term is heard particularly in the Scottish Lowlands and the north of England.
Origin & History of “knock”
knock is a classic onomatopoeic word: that is to say, it originated in a direct imitation of the sound it denotes. The similar Swedish knacka ‘knock’ may be related. The figurative use of the word for ‘criticize’ originated in late 19th-century America.