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From "Far From the Madding Crowd":

The fire before them wasted away. "Men," said Bathsheba, "you shall take a little refreshment after this extra work. Will you come to the house?"

"We could knock in a bit and a drop a good deal freer, Miss, if so be ye'd send it to Warren's Malthouse," replied the spokesman.

Is knock in a slang or colloquial phrasal verb for "eat, consume" (food and drink)?
I understand a bit and a drop to mean "food and drink".

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    'Knock back' might be a more common version, certainly for drink. It's not one I've come across before, but that appears to be the context. NGRAM doesn't of course give any meaning, but shows one dropping away as the other rises in usage. – Tetsujin Dec 23 '14 at 20:38
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    Well, since it sounds like it was part of a passage meant to sound like British or Irish colloquial speech, and as such it is very informal. It sounds to me like he is saying that they could eat it better, and more freely. "Knock in" here, I think has a meaning more like "I could pound down a few beers." or "I could knock back a few sandwiches, myself." – Msfolly Feb 8 '16 at 17:08
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OED 1, s.v. Knock, gives

9. Knock in. a. trans. To drive or force in by blows or as by blows.

In support it cites

1892 T. Hardy in Harper’s Mag. Apr. 704 They knocked in the victuals and drink till they could hold no more.

Robert Graves somewhere observes that Hardy once told him he once went to the OED to confirm a 'country' usage in a work he was writing and found the use described there—with Hardy himself as the only authority!

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    Goodbye to All That, chapter xxviii. :-) – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 24 '14 at 0:12
  • @TRomano Thanks. I loaned somebody my copy in 1981 and never got it back. – StoneyB Dec 24 '14 at 0:13
  • I might have lent a book to the same person. Time-frame sounds about right. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 24 '14 at 0:13
  • @TRomano Well, he ought to be well read. – StoneyB Dec 24 '14 at 0:14
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Yes but I think it is outdated.

I've never heard it used.

knock (5) —in, (a) to eat, consume, to dispose of food ;

Source

Edit: both uses cited are by Hardy. :)

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