bring to one's knees

Idioms & Phrases

bring to one's knees

Make one submit; reduce to a position of subservience. For example, Solitary confinement usually brings prisoners to their knees. This particular phrase dates only from the late 1800s, although there were earlier versions alluding to being on one's knees as a gesture of submission.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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