What is the most common informal/casual idiom / expression / verb to imply making someone feel defeated in a humiliating way in AE?

For instance, let's say two youngsters are playing soccer against each other for a bragging right. Before the game, one of them threatens the other guy and needs to convey the message that he will put him down in his place.

I know three idioms that seem to be close to the meaning in my question:

What should he say?

a. I'll take the wind out of you
b. I'll take you down a peg
c. I'll face you down

Just for more clarification let me raise another example:

Please imagine two people are arguing in a social setting in a serious manner and they both want to have the last word and it turns out to be of paramount importance for both to succeed in that debate. Finally one of them persuades the other one and after they scatter, the winner says his friend proudly:

a. I took the wind out of him
b. I took him down a peg
c. I faced him down

I was wondering which choice encompasses my intended meaning.

What would the best idiom to use for this? (Open to further suggestions if they fit better)

  • I would just say: "I destroyed/annihilated him."
    – AIQ
    Oct 23, 2019 at 18:22
  • Well what's wrong with my offers @AIQ? On top of that, I need something informal, although I forgot to mention that in my thread body! Your suggested options do not seem to be as casual as I need! (I've edited my thread.)
    – A-friend
    Oct 23, 2019 at 18:28
  • 1
    There is nothing wrong with yours. But if you search youtube for people debating or arguing, you will see that they often use the term "destroyed". In sports, people will use "destroy", "annihilate" or something of that kind. My options are frequently used in informal settings. Also, those words have this sense of darkness within them that I think your phrases don't have - but may be you don't want that. Since you wrote "making someone feel defeated in a humiliating way", I feel that it needs words or phrases that has emotion in them - destroyed and annihilated works for that reason.
    – AIQ
    Oct 23, 2019 at 18:35
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    to take the wind out of someone is not usually done by another person. The blow took the wind out of him.
    – Lambie
    Oct 23, 2019 at 18:44

5 Answers 5


How about "I'll show you who's boss?" Show someone who's boss

After beating them, you'd say "I showed you who's boss."

  • That's a good one @Matt Samuel, but does it encapsulate all my referred message specially the "humiliation"?
    – A-friend
    Oct 23, 2019 at 19:46
  • 1
    @A-f To me it seems there is an aspect of humiliation to it. Oct 23, 2019 at 19:55

All of those three imply some degree of defeat, but not necessarily humiliation. The strongest is "to take someone down a peg" but this sounds more like genteel British understatement than any kind of sincere gloating.

Instead, on the polite side, try "rub someone's nose in the dirt", implying that someone was so defeated they were forced face-first into the ground.

Wow, look at him run off. I really rubbed his nose in the dirt with that one.

On the less polite side, there's the scatological "kick the shit out of someone", implying such an extreme defeat that they soiled themselves from fear.

Hah, look at him go. I really kicked the shit out of him.

Naturally, there are many other expressions than these.

  • Thank you very much @Andrew. But may I ask you to do me a favor and give me a source to the provided idiom "rub one's face in the dirt" please? Unfortunately, despite searching on the internet, I was unable to find any reliable dictionary including that expression!
    – A-friend
    Oct 23, 2019 at 19:25
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    @A-friend I guess the common form is "to rub someone's nose in the dirt". It's not really an expression I use much, but to me either "face" or "nose" is fine.
    – Andrew
    Oct 23, 2019 at 19:27
  • Yes; that's quite right @Andrew, but the problem with it is that all online sources have defined it as "to remind one of one's failures or wrongdoings" which seemingly has nothing to do with defeat one in a humiliating manner! Could you possibly tell me more about it? Thank you. :)
    – A-friend
    Oct 23, 2019 at 19:30

An expression that implies utter defeat with ease is "wipe the floor with".

Before the competition you can say "I will wipe the floor with [insert name or pronoun]".

After the competition you can say "I wiped the floor with [insert name or pronoun]".


"I'm going to make you my bitch." Urban Dictionary, for lack of a more concise source.

  • This will take "respect" out of the equation though. If you say this there is no coming back. You can humiliate people and still have them respect you - but not with this.
    – AIQ
    Oct 23, 2019 at 21:09
  • 1
    I think that's part of the idea behind utterly humiliating someone.
    – Dapianoman
    Oct 23, 2019 at 21:14

An informal verb you can use in this situation is the transitive verb to own.

According to the Wikipedia article,

Owned[...] is typically used to signify severe defeat or humiliation, usually in an amusing way or through the dominance of an opposing party.

This word originated in the 1990s, where hackers used it to describe taking over someone’s computer. It then spread to gaming, where gamers starting used it to refer to defeating someone in a game. Finally, the term became part of standard slang and is now used in diverse contexts.

This is what the person could say in the examples your provided:

Example 1

You’re gonna get owned.

Example 2

He got owned.


I totally owned him.

  • There's also "to smoke", like "he got smoked" etc.
    – hb20007
    Mar 28, 2021 at 13:22

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