This question already has an answer here:

This question had a sequel to the question just below. The meaning of 'blow me down'

Thanks to WS2's reply and link I draw my conclusion for the phrase 'blow me down.' But to my surprise I think I have reached a different answer than you.

Here are examples that you presented in your link.

  1. I'm absolutely blowed if I know what to do.

I think this sentence means that I would be shocked if I know what to do. That is, I think I have no chance of knowing what to do.

  1. Blow me tight if ever I saw such a thing in my life before.

I would be shocked if I saw such a thing in my life before. There's no chance of my seeing such a thing in my life before. That is, that's my first time that I saw such a thing in my life.

  1. Blow me if I do!

I would be shocked if I do. That is, there's no chance that I do (it).

Am I right in my description of the three sentences above?

And on the sentence in question, I draw my comprehension based on your explanation.

  1. "Blow me down if she didn’t just run off!"

I would be shocked if she didn’t just run off! There's no chance that she didn’t just run off. That is, she must have just run off. If not, I would be shocked.

The last line is my conclusion that I drew on your explanation.

Here is your sentences. "When she just ran off, you could have knocked me over with a feather!" "She's run off ? - well blow me down!"

These two sentences implies that I am shocked because she runs off. That means the speaker didn't expect she would run off. If that is your thought, that's just the opposite of mine.

marked as duplicate by tchrist Feb 11 '18 at 14:01

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 1
    The previous discussion provided a link to the OED which gives one definition of 'blow' as a mild expletive similar in meaning to 'damn'. So its use in 'I'm blowed if I know' is just an intensifier meaning 'I really don't know'. – Kate Bunting Oct 16 '17 at 8:27
  • Your reply help me to understand all 4 example sentences above. But I don't think I understand it perfectly. Here's one other sentence from Cambridge Dictionary. dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/be-blowed-if If someone says that they are blowed if they will do something, they are determined not to do it: ▪ I'm blowed if I'm going to pay for his taxi home. It says the expression 'I'm blowed if' means 'determined not to do something stated in the if-clause'. In this case your suggestion is not applied. The sentence hints he will not pay for the taxi fee. – morti Oct 17 '17 at 2:30
  • 1
    Yes, it is applicable in this case. "I'm damned if I'm going to do X" has the sense of "I am as unwilling to do it as I am to be damned", and "blowed" is used as a milder alternative. – Kate Bunting Oct 17 '17 at 9:43

The full expression is 'blow me down with a feather!' It means, that you were so surprised or shocked, that someone could knock you over, knock you off your feet, merely by wafting a flimsy, light-weight feather at you!


What this means, is that you were so surprised, or shocked, that you were so close to falling down on your own, already, that all it would need, would be a tiny feather-waft, to send you crashing!

It is thus, an expression of surprise, similar to saying 'I can't believe it!' Or 'would you believe it!' Or, in Cockney rhyming slang 'would you Adam and Eve it?'

The expression can be shortened to 'well I'm blowed!' Again an expression of surprise. Meaning 'I'm knocked down by surprise.'

The expression 'well I'm blowed if I am going to pay for his taxi' means that 'I'd be so surprised, if I paid for his taxi, that I'd fall down.' Meaning - I'm not going to do that!

The likelihood of me being knocked down by a feather, is as likely as my paying for his taxi - ie is zero!

So we are stating something unlikely (being knocked down by a feather) and using that as a comparison to the likelihood of something else happening, or being about to happen (or not).

Expressions of surprise similar to this one are legion in English, on TV shows and more, and just get sillier - such as 'is the Pope Catholic?' (Or, is that one a lack of surprise?) and some are very funny, you might enjoy: https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/amazing-expression-of-amazement.769236/

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.