Let's say we have someone who is really energetic and excited about a task they are doing, and then something happens (or someone says something), that totally takes the excitement out of the task away. You could imagine the person "deflating" - for that reason I always thought that "take the steam out" - would be a good expression, but I noticed people sometimes would misunderstand my intention.

Is it a valid expression, or is there something that would fit better in this scenario? I am looking basically how to describe what the event did to the previously energized person.

The country of reference is Canada if that matters.

  • Well, someone was a party pooper.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 21:44
  • Yes, I am looking more for how to describe what happened to previously energized person, I updated the answer to reflect that. Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 21:49

6 Answers 6


Do you like nautical terms?

I would say that your poor friend had the wind knocked out of his sails.

  • If you don't like nautical terms there are some nice synonyms on that link too.
    – James
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 21:55
  • Alternative version is take the wind out of his sails Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 22:01
  • Yeah, that one is the I should have been using. Visually corresponds to deflating pretty well too. Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 22:08

You may use the expression dampen someone's enthusiasm to convey the idea of curbing someone's excitement over something.

  • dampen someone’s enthusiasm (=reduce it): The defeat did not dampen the enthusiasm of the home team.


  • 1
    That's a really good one too. Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 22:12

Consider, slap in the face, sucker punch, and put a damper on.

slap in the face: (figuratively, idiomatic) Something unexpectedly said or done which causes shock or offense; an insult, rebuke, or rebuff. That Joan's ex-boyfriend turned up to the school dance with Mary was a slap in the face for Joan, and now the girls are no longer best friends. Wiktionary

sucker punch: a sudden unexpected defeat or setback Collins English Dictionary

put a damper on: discourage, dishearten, deter, as in Grandpa's death put a damper on our Christmas holidays. This idiom employs the noun damper in the sense of "something that damps or depresses the spirits," a usage dating from the mid-1700s. The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms


You could potentially say disillusioned or disenchanted:

Alternatively, he has been described by Egyptian officials as a disillusioned radical, on his way to meet Hamas in Gaza.

The harshness of everyday reality disenchanted him of his idealistic hopes.


verb: to loose one's motivation

adjective: demotivated

from MW - motivation is the act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something; the condition of being eager to act or work; a force or influence that causes someone to do something.

Example: Staff may lose motivation in the absence of support and feedback from senior management.


I would personally consider using the word "thwart" for your situation.


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