the knives are out (for someone)

Definition of the knives are out (for someone)

used to say that people are ready to blame or punish someone for something often in a way that is unfair
  • They lost yet another important game, and now the knives are out for their coach.

Word by Word Definitions

knife play knives
  1. : a cutting instrument consisting of a sharp blade fastened to a handle

  2. : a weapon or tool resembling a knife

  3. : a sharp cutting blade or tool in a machine

  1. : to use a knife on

  2. : to cut, mark, or spread with a knife

  3. : to try to defeat by underhanded means

out play
  1. : in a direction away from the inside or center

  2. : outside

  3. : from among others

  1. : eject, oust

  2. : to identify publicly as being such secretly

  3. : to become publicly known

  1. used as a function word to indicate an outward movement

  1. : situated outside : external

  2. : out-of-bounds

  3. : situated at a distance : outlying

  1. : outside

  2. : one who is out of office or power or on the outside

  3. : an act or instance of putting a player out or of being put out in baseball

  1. : in a manner that exceeds or surpasses and sometimes overpowers or defeats

someone play
  1. : some person : somebody


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up the knives are out (for someone)? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

spoken rather than written

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!