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I have trouble with meaning of below text.

He lost his temper and punched the manager, knocking him off of his crutches.

The bottleneck is the bold text. Is it a kind of Idiom ? Thanks

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  • It could be an idiom... unless the manager is using crutches... Can you give some additional context?
    – Catija
    Aug 14 '15 at 22:22
  • @Catija There is no description proving the manager uses crutches, however you can read the whole text here: books.google.com/…
    – Cardinal
    Aug 14 '15 at 22:28
  • Hmmm, can you mention what page it's on? The link you gave isn't bookmarked and the search function says that "crutches" doesn't appear in the text.
    – Catija
    Aug 14 '15 at 22:30
  • Oh, I found the text but it's worded differently... It says "knocking him from his wheelchair".
    – Catija
    Aug 14 '15 at 22:32
  • 1
    If one says crutches and the other says wheelchair I'm inclined to believe it is meant literally: the manager is injured or disabled and the other guy knocked him over (so they he's no longer supported by his aids, whether crutches or wheelchair).
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 14 '15 at 22:48
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It's sort of an idiom.

Generally, when you "knock someone X", that literally means you punch them in such a way that causes X to happen.

So, "knock someone out" literally means - punch them so that they are no longer conscious. It has some figurative meanings, such as "the drug knocked him out". The end result is the same but no physical violence was done.

Here are some of the examples of literal and figurative use of this phrase:

  1. Lit. to knock someone unconscious. (Someone includes oneself.) Fred knocked Mike out and left him there in the gutter. Fred knocked out Mike.
  2. Fig. to make someone unconsciousness. The drug knocked her out quickly. The powerful medicine knocked out the patient.
  3. Fig. to surprise or please someone. I have some news that will really knock you out.
  4. Fig. to wear someone out; to exhaust someone. All that exercise really knocked me out. The day's activities knocked the kids out and they went right to bed.

In your case, "knock him off of his crutches" is probably being used literally to mean that he punched the man (who was using crutches) so hard that he is no longer standing upright.

Or, in the other example, "knock him out of his wheelchair" means that you punch them in a way that causes them to fall out of their wheelchair.


One warning (that I can think of right now) one exception is "knock someone up"... which is used to mean "got her pregnant". So, avoid that.

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  • The text has deficiency in terms of providing insufficient information. As a learner, my first idea was that bold text must be an idiom completely.
    – Cardinal
    Aug 14 '15 at 23:03
  • @Cardinal Yeah, it's partly an idiom because "knock someone out" is an idiom but I don't think there's anything about "knock him off his crutches" that is a set phrase.
    – Catija
    Aug 14 '15 at 23:05
  • 1
    Another "exception" is Knock it off! - stop doing something [that annoys me]. And figurative Knock him off his perch - surprise him. Aug 15 '15 at 0:14

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