knock oneself out

Idioms & Phrases

knock oneself out

  1. Make a great effort, as in I was knocking myself out to finish on time. This expression also is put negatively, Don't knock yourself out, meaning "don't exert yourself; it's not worth that much effort." [c. 1930]

  2. Enjoy yourself, have a good time, as in You're off to Europe? Knock yourself out. [Slang; mid-1900s] Both usages allude to knocking oneself unconscious (see knock out). For a synonym see break one's ass.

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