A teacher burning with rage and a student filled with indignation had this conversation:

Teacher: Where have you been?

Student: Just went out to get my mother to the doctor.

Teacher: Oh! I see. But, no excuses! You're late.

Student: Sorry Sir. I won't repeat that.

Teacher: Come late and say sorry and you're gonna save yourself. Now, your ass will be taking rounds and rounds of the playground until the lights go out.

Could that possibly mean when someone dies or until the night or for quite a long time or when someone is panting or what? I'm confused!

  • 1
    That conversation is a mishmash of the idiomatic and the unidiomatic. Are you copying it from somewhere? Or have you made this conversation up yourself?
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 18:48
  • Agreed. In the conversation you did "Come late and say sorry" so the teacher is on a mission to nowhere. Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 18:57

1 Answer 1


I can understand your confusion. You seem to be thinking of the expression knock someone's lights out which means "to hit someone until they are unconcious".

I believe the lights, in this case, refer to street lamps that light areas at night (this can serve as both a security measure and a safety measure). Sometimes, street lamps stay on all night, while some go out at a certain time, usually incredibly early in the morning (3 AM, for example) when citizens are mostly sleeping and are not outdoors.

The teacher specifically mentions the lights going out to convey to the student that they will be running around the playground for a long period of time (i.e. throughout the night until it is so late that the lights over the playground go out).

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