There seem to be several meanings;

Awoken in the morning; Made pregnant; Put together/prepared quickly or on the fly; Made tired/worn out.

I have never heard of this last meaning which (used earlier by my father) needless to say was the one that nearly started a very fraught conversation!

What is the primary or dominant meaning? Many thanks

  • Why does there have to be one primary meaning? I think your second and third meanings are equally dominant. – curiousdannii Jul 22 '14 at 5:29

While 'Knocked Up' doesn't usually refer to 'Made Tired/Worn Out', this might be somewhat relevant to what you're looking for- "primary meaning of Knocked Up". As you will see, the phrase 'Knocked Up' has different primary meanings over different geographical areas.

In short, other than the primary meaning we all know, here are the other(relatively less used) meanings you're looking for(cited from the above link)-

This is a difference between American and British English. In England if you knock someone up you get them out of bed


Knock up is 1660s in sense of "arouse by knocking at the door;" however it is little used in this sense in Amer.Eng., where the phrase means "get a woman pregnant" (1813)....

-Online Etymology Dictionary

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    Can you please quote for us the relevant information from that link? We expect on this site for answers to include the information themselves and not just link to it. (Please include the link as well, we need sources for quotes too!) – curiousdannii Jul 22 '14 at 5:33

It only means to be made pregnant, at least in modern usage.

It is possible that "knocked out" means tired/worn out, but I haven't really heard that used.

Also, knocked about means to have gone through a tough, difficult or stressful time. About here means "here and there" not "in regards to".

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    Really? - I knocked up a bookcase once. I hope nobody finds out.. – mgb Jul 22 '14 at 5:37
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    In British English, "What time do you want to be knocked up?" still means "How early tomorrow morning do you want me to come and wake you up?" – Erik Kowal Jul 22 '14 at 6:04
  • @Erik It's not that usual nowadays. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 22 '14 at 23:12
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    @EdwinAshworth - J'accuse the invention of the alarm clock... – Erik Kowal Jul 23 '14 at 0:13

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