Today’s versatile word is ‘knock’. Obviously, you can knock on someone’s door and knock on wood (for good luck). If you’re knocking on, you’re getting a bit old and if you’re knocking off, you’re finished your work for the day. However, a knock-off is a cheap imitation. And if you knock something off, you finish it really quickly. If you’re knocked up, you’re pregnant. If what you do is repeated by others, it’s a knock-on effect.
If you knock someone or something, you speak badly of them or it. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. On the other hand, if you knock them dead, you’re a big success. You might even be so good that you knock their socks off. Or knock spots off the competition. If not, you might get knocked down a peg or two. If your car engine knocks, say goodbye to your car: that sound means your big end’s gone (the bearings on a piston rod – I think!). And if this shocks you, they could have knocked you down with a feather and if it frightens you, your knees are probably knocking.
As we all know from the musical Annie, a difficult life is a hard-knock life; the school of hard knocks.
Knock it into a cocked hat if you want to completely demolish an idea or defeat an argument.