blow out

Idioms & Phrases

blow out

  1. Extinguish, especially a flame. For example, The wind blew out the candles very quickly. [1300s]

  2. Lose force or cease entirely, as in The storm will soon blow itself out and move out to sea. Also see blow over.

  3. Burst or rupture suddenly, as in This tire is about to blow out. This usage alludes to the escape of air under pressure. [Early 1900s]

  4. Also, blow out of the water. Defeat decisively, as in With a great new product and excellent publicity, we could blow the competition out of the water. This term originally was used in mid-19th-century naval warfare, where it meant to blast or shoot another vessel to pieces. It later was transferred to athletic and other kinds of defeat. [Slang; mid-1900s]

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