I found the following phrase in a book I was reading:

I will personally send agents to your house to remove your kneecaps in the dead of night.

I am confused about the meaning of remove your kneecaps. Does this mean cut down the kneecaps? Or does kneecaps mean others?

I know the author's meaning, he wants to express his fuss. But why use remove your kneecaps, is there some allusion?

  • By the way, this sentence is from Matt Neuburg's iOS xx Programming Fundamentals with Swift
    – bfhaha
    Jan 29, 2022 at 7:50

1 Answer 1


A common stereotype of loan sharks, at least in American media, is that they threaten to "break your kneecaps" if you are unable to pay them back. This is not only incredibly painful but also often permanently crippling, so it's a pretty serious thing to do to someone.

"Remove your kneecaps" is simply a more extreme (and figurative) way to express the idea that the criminal will do something very painful to you. The criminal doesn't mean he will actually remove your kneecaps. It's just a threat meant to intimidate.

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