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06 / 10 / 2006

KNOCK SOMETHING ON THE HEAD: meaning and examples

Good morning.

The other day we received the following query from one of our Daily Vitamin subscribers:

hola! una consultita, he recibido un mail from Londres con la expresión: "gonna have to knock it on the head soon" y sinceramente no la pueden ayudar diciéndome los sifnificados que tiene por favor??? saludos, muchas gracias y disculpen la molestia. -Lorena N.

Today's expression is: to knock something on the head

It is an informal (especially British-English) idiom which can mean the following:

i) to put an end to something in a firm or definite manner or to decide not to do something anymore.
ii) to prevent something from happening.
iii) to say or show that something is not true.

Lorena didn't give us the full context, so I don't know which meaning the writer of her email was using. However, meaning (i) is the most common.

Example 1:
George: Do you still play tennis every weekend?
Mark: No, I knocked that on the head a long time ago.

Example 2:
Her screaming is driving me crazy. If she doesn't knock it on the head soon, she's going to have to leave.

Example 3:
When building a business, it's important to know when to knock something on the head when it's not working, and move on to something else.

Lorena...perhaps you could indicate the exact context of the email by posting a comment in the Daily Vitamin Plus! forum section on our website (

Whatever you're doing right now, knock it on the head and go home. It's time to begin your weekend. I hope it's a good one!

I'll see you on Monday.