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2 Jun. What does it mean to be “knocked for six?”

This English expression is fairly commonly used but without knowledge of what it refers to, it would be difficult to decipher simply from the words! To find out how to use it and where it came from, keep reading!


This idiom is used in order to express the feeling of being overwhelmed or shocked by something. It generally refers to a negative emotion, such as when a person fails something they thought they would pass or when a relationship unexpectedly comes to an end.


The phrase is said to derive from the alternate expression “hit for six” which has it’s roots in the sport of cricket. This refers to the act of attainting the maximum number of six runs for each shot hit.

It is unclear when this expression was first used in a metaphorical sense rather than referring to cricket.


An example of the use of the expression can be found in the title of an article in the British newspaper, The Guardian. The article is entitled “The weekend cook: homemade satay will knock your Thai takeaway for six.” The article contains a recipe for a Thai dish which will apparently taste much better than a Thai takeaway, hence the use of this expression.

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