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Also, take down a peg . Deflate or humble someone, as in He's so arrogant that I wish someone would take him down a notch , or That defeat took them down a peg . Both notch and peg in this idiom allude to a series, the former of indentations, the latter of knobs, used to raise or lower something. Specifically, peg alludes to the pegs used to lower a ship's colors. Their figurative use dates from the second half of the 1600s. Also see cut down , def. 4.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
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