\ ˈnäk How to pronounce knock (audio) \
knocked; knocking; knocks

Definition of knock

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to strike something with a sharp blow
2 : to collide with something
3a : bustle heard them knocking around in the kitchen
b : wander knocked about Europe all summer
4a : to make a pounding noise
b : to have engine knock
5 : to find fault

transitive verb

1a(1) : to strike sharply
(2) : to drive, force, or make by or as if by so striking was knocked out of the campaign
b : to set forcibly in motion with a blow
2 : to cause to collide
3 : to find fault with always knocking those in authority
knock cold knock dead
: to move strongly especially to admiration or applause a comedian who really knocks them dead
knock for a loop
1a : overcome knocked my opponent for a loop
b : demolish knocked our idea for a loop
2 : dumbfound, amaze the news knocked them for a loop
knock one's socks off
: to overwhelm or amaze one a performance that will knock your socks off
knock on wood
used interjectionally to ward off misfortune
knock together
: to make or assemble especially hurriedly or in a makeshift way knocked together my own bookcase



Definition of knock (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a sharp blow : rap, hit a loud knock on the door
b(1) : a severe misfortune or hardship
2a : a pounding noise
b : a sharp repetitive metallic noise caused by abnormal ignition in an automobile engine
3 : a harsh and often petty criticism the knock on him was that he couldn't handle the pressure

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Examples of knock in a Sentence

Verb The ball knocked him on the chin. She knocked the glass from his hand. He knocked the baseball over the fence. The ball hit him in the mouth and knocked out one of his teeth. The wind knocked him backwards. The dog knocked against the lamp. My knee accidentally knocked against the table. Skaters were knocking into each other all over the ice. I accidentally knocked my knee against the table. Noun He gave him a knock on the head. There was a loud knock at the door. She took some knocks early in her career. He likes praise but can't stand the knocks.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb On Tuesday night, as the city’s go team fanned out across 14th Street NW to knock on doors with fireworks safety fliers, an angry resident emerged from his house to lambaste the officers. Emily Davies, Washington Post, "Unprecedented fireworks boom spreads across D.C. ahead of July 4," 2 July 2020 New York City is starting to knock on doors to reach more people. Mallory Moench,, "Bay Area contact tracing shows early signs of success," 29 June 2020 Their 2020 goal is to knock on more than 10 million doors and get out the vote in 17 states for the presidential and Senate races. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Candidates for prosecutor explore "defund the police"," 25 June 2020 Typically, volunteers with registration forms mill around political rallies, set up tables at college campuses or knock on doors in neighborhoods. Gloria Dickie, Scientific American, "Trump vs. Biden: How COVID-19 Will Affect Voting for President," 19 June 2020 The alternative is the knock-and-announce method of carrying out a search warrant. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "Five things to know about no-knock warrants and Breonna Taylor's death," 13 June 2020 Don’t expect this to knock all the dirt off — that comes in the next step. cleveland, "How to protect your health with a clean car," 6 June 2020 Though this seat is already marked down by 25%, the code will knock an additional 10% off the cost, bringing your total savings to $187.21. Isabelle Kagan, USA TODAY, "This incredible lift recliner deal at Home Depot is too good to miss," 3 June 2020 East winds knock highs back to near 90 over the Fourth of July weekend, when there is a just a limited chance of late day storms. David Streit, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Hot through the holiday weekend and especially steamy on Friday," 2 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Protesters in Louisville and around the nation have denounced the use of no-knock search warrants in the wake of her death. Morgan Watkins, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky Senate President Stivers proposes ban on most no-knock search warrants," 9 July 2020 Along with banning choke holds and no-knock warrants, Gutierrez is focused on the racial disparities in drug arrests, and legalizing marijuana in Texas. Silvia Foster-frau,, "New Black Lives Matter group holds voter registration drive," 9 July 2020 Last week, the panel urged the city to ban police chokeholds and no-knock search warrants. Samantha Hendrickson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Stores at Mayfair mall and The Cheesecake Factory close as protesters call for the firing of a Wauwatosa police officer," 2 July 2020 On the federal level, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican, has been working on legislation that could terminate the use of no-knock warrants. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "FBI: Investigating Breonna Taylor's death a 'top priority' for Louisville office," 2 July 2020 No-knock warrants have now been banned in Louisville. Matthew Brown, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Louisville Police had a 'no-knock' warrant for Breonna Taylor’s apartment," 30 June 2020 The city council voted this month to ban no-knock warrants, which allow police to enter a home unannounced. Josh Wood, Washington Post, "1 dead after man shoots into crowd at Breonna Taylor protest in Louisville," 28 June 2020 Palmer signed the letter and is also working to get Breonna's Law passed, to ban no-knock warrants in an effort to curb the police brutality that killed her daughter. CBS News, "Breonna Taylor's mother and Tina Knowles-Lawson urge Congress to expand voting access with HEROES act," 25 June 2020 Louisville's Metro Council recently voted to ban the use of no-knock warrants. Rebecca Reynolds Yonker, Bruce Schreiner, Anchorage Daily News, "Louisville officer involved in Breonna Taylor shooting to be fired," 19 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'knock.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of knock


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for knock


Middle English knoken, from Old English cnocian; akin to Middle High German knochen to press

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Time Traveler for knock

Time Traveler

The first known use of knock was before the 12th century

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Statistics for knock

Last Updated

29 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Knock.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for knock


How to pronounce knock (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of knock

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to hit something (such as a door) with the knuckles of your hand or with a hard object (such as a knocker) in order to get people's attention
: to hit (something or someone) in a forceful way
: to touch or hit someone or something in a way that is not planned or intended



English Language Learners Definition of knock (Entry 2 of 2)

: a hard, sharp hit
: the sound made by a hard hit
informal : an experience that makes you less confident or successful for a period of time : a difficult or painful experience


\ ˈnäk How to pronounce knock (audio) \
knocked; knocking

Kids Definition of knock

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to strike in order to get someone's attention I knocked before entering.
2 : to bump against something without intending to Careful! You knocked the lamp.
3 : to make a pounding noise The car's engine began knocking.
4 : to find fault with Don't knock it till you try it.
5 : to hit forcefully He knocked the ball out of the park.
knock down
1 : to strike to the ground with or as if with a sharp blow
2 : to take apart Knock down the tent before you leave camp.
knock off
: to stop doing something Hey, I don't like that, so knock it off!
knock over
: to cause to fall



Kids Definition of knock (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a pounding noise I heard a knock at the door.
2 : a sharp blow a knock on the head
3 : a difficult or painful experience You learn from life's knocks.


\ ˈnäk How to pronounce knock (audio) \

Medical Definition of knock

1 : a sharp blow a knock to the head
2 : a sharp pounding noise

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More from Merriam-Webster on knock

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for knock

Spanish Central: Translation of knock

Nglish: Translation of knock for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of knock for Arabic Speakers

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