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I can't seem to find much about this expression online, and its usage eludes me somewhat.

I'm guessing that it's supposed to mean that someone is being overcome by another party, a winner in a debate or some form of sparring?

Example sentence:

They could swing their big money around and knock them out of the water.

Does that make sense?

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"USAGE"!!! ahhhhhh :-) –  kalaracey Dec 30 '10 at 20:27
    
@kalaracey I don't get it :? –  gakera Dec 30 '10 at 20:34
    
Sorry, I just meant that lots of people get upset when someone uses the word "usage." It's a really overused word, but I'm sure its fine in your sentence. :) –  kalaracey Dec 31 '10 at 21:36

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Usually the cliché used with knock is "knock them down."

Where water is concerned, the usual cliché is "blow them out of the water." The reference is to naval combat, which seems perfectly appropriate.

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ahh duh :) too bad my email is already sent :P –  gakera Dec 30 '10 at 20:32
1  
+1 Mixed metaphor, probably confusion with knock you out. –  Orbling Dec 30 '10 at 20:44
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...and for additional oomph, say "blow them clear out of the water". :D –  user730 Dec 31 '10 at 8:41
    
I think the original may be confused with 'knocked (it) out of the park'. A baseball allusion, I believe. –  Eamonn Apr 1 '12 at 18:10

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