do for

Idioms & Phrases

do for

  1. Bring about the death, defeat, or ruin of, as in He swore he'd do for him. This usage is often put in the passive voice (see done for). [First half of 1700s]

  2. Care or provide for, take care of, as in They decided to hire a housekeeper to do for Grandmother. This usage today is more common in Britain than in America. [Early 1500s]

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