I came across a sentence like below (Reference)

It took the wind out of me.

I know that the phrase "take the wind out of someone’s sails" means to make someone feel less confident, usually by saying or doing something unexpected.

I am wondering if "to take the wind out of someone" implies the same as "take the wind out of someone’s sails" in general?

1 Answer 1


No, they don't mean the same thing.

As you note in your question, "to take the wind out of someone's sails" means that a thing that's happened leads to someone losing energy, confidence, or enthusiasm or being discouraged.

To "take the wind out of someone" or more commonly to "knock the wind out of someone" means to physically or figuratively disrupt someone's breathing. See here for a definition of knock the breath/wind out of someone:

to hit or throw someone, so that they cannot breathe easily

We can also infer the meaning of the sentence from the context in the book from which your sentence is extracted.

It was like she'd stabbed me in the chest and kicked me in the balls at the same time. I'm not exaggerating, man, my nuts were hurting so bad I had to squat for a minute and take some deep breaths. That ever happen to you, where your blood and adrenalin get pumping so bad it hurts your nuts? It took the wind out of me. It was unreal.

I can totally see why they might overlap in meaning in some contexts, but this is not one of them. The narrator talks about an experience so shocking that they felt like they were unable to breathe for a moment. This passage is not about losing confidence/enthusiasm so much as about the shock effect.


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