Here's the text:

A: Nobody's fed me all day and I'm still part of this family.
B: There's a sandwich in the fridge. Knock yourself out!

What does it mean by knock yourself out?

  • 1
    I think the meaning of the idiom can easily be established by simply Googling "knock yourself out" meaning, so the question is Off Topic for lack of prior research. As to the origin, this source points out that OED defines to knock oneself out as to make a considerable effort, to apply oneself energetically (to the point of exhaustion), which has morphed (under the influence of "Black English"?) into get your kicks on this, do it as enthusiastically as you want. Oct 28 '15 at 16:45

"Knock yourself out" can be used in a variety of situations (not just the one you specified). It can mean the following:

  • Go crazy.

  • Do something with such fervor and excitement that you are in danger (not likely) of passing out from so much activity.

  • Don't feel inhibited in any way. Go for it!

  • I give you permission to give it all you've got! Don't hold back!

The expression can be used in a facetious or sarcastic way when for example a person says, "OK, I'll take the garbage out," and another person who is perhaps more eager to do the job says, "Hey, I want to take out the garbage." The first person might say, "Hey, knock yourself out!"

  • 1
    +1 It's a form of hyperbole that has become an idiom.
    – bib
    Oct 28 '15 at 17:04

"Knock yourself out" is similar in meaning to "help yourself". It really just means that you are free to take as much of something as you wish.

  • In this context, but not always. If it was said in reply to "I'd like to move to Italy," it would not mean to take as much of Italy as you wish. Oct 28 '15 at 17:25
  • It would mean "as much moving to Italy as you wish"
    – Glen_b
    Dec 10 '18 at 8:21

It means:

"Have at it!"

This is the closest you're gonna get as far as idioms go.


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