I came across a theme song, I'll Be There For You of an American TV show, Friends but I don't understand the bolded lyrics.

You're still in bed at ten and work began at eight

You've burned your breakfast, so far things are going great

Your mother warned you there'd be days like these

But she didn't tell you when the world has brought you down to your knees that

When I checked the dictionary, I found that:

(1) bring·down

a disappointment or letdown; comedown.

(2) bring you/something to your/its knees

to defeat or stop someone or something

-- > Severe oil shortages could bring our economy to its knees. They played a great game and brought our local basketball champs to their knees.

I'm unsure that probably one of these definitions are similar meaning to bring you down to your knees but I couldn't find the exact words bring + down + knees. Thanks.

3 Answers 3


You have it right. It is essentially saying when life has beaten you down, the brought/bring difference just has to do with a past/present tense but you have the right idiom.


OP's cited usage is something of a mélange, drawing on two idiomatically common usages:

1: Help me, Lord, I'm feeling low / I'm down on my knees (= I'm begging You, Lord)
(Bonnie Raitt - Hear Me Lord Lyrics)

2: If a country or organization is brought to its knees, it is almost completely destroyed
(dictionary.reverso definition)

There's nothing inherently wrong with omitting down in the first usage, or including it in the second one, but the usual forms are as given above.


I imagine the origin may have to do with prayer. When you can't do anything about a situation you turn to God for help.

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