knock into a cocked hat

Idioms & Phrases

knock into a cocked hat

Debunk, render useless or unbelievable. For example, His findings knocked our theory into a cocked hat. This expression alludes to a style of hat with the brim turned up on three sidesthe three-cornered (tricorne) hat worn by officers in the American Revolutiongiving it a distorted look. [Early 1800s]

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