do in

Idioms & Phrases

do in

  1. Tire out, exhaust, as in Running errands all day did me in. [Colloquial; early 1900s] Also see done in.

  2. Kill, as in Mystery writers are always thinking of new ways to do their characters in. [Slang; early 1900s] Also see def. 4.

  3. Ruin utterly; also cheat or swindle. For example, The five-alarm fire did in the whole block, or His so-called friend really did him in. [First half of 1900s]

  4. do oneself in. Commit suicide, as in She was always threatening to do herself in. [Slang; first half of 1900s]

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