In a short story entitled The Last Cruise of the Judas Iscariot by Edward Page Mitchel, Captain Cram, a sailor in Main, builds a schooner with three masts, which is considred by the town's people as a bad omen.

It happens that the schooner runs into many accidents whenever it sails, causing a great deal of damage to its owners. That's why Captain Cram decides to change its name to Judas Iscariot to represent its demonic soul. By the end of the story, Captain Cram is telling its story to a stranger and its last journey, when he has loaded it by stones from the fence of his pasture, probably to make it drown.

He tells the stranger:

Did yer suppose she'd sink in deep water, where she could do no more damage?

No, sir, not if all the rocks on the coast of Maine was piled onto her, and her hull bottom knocked clean out.

I can't understand what he means by "her hull bottom knocked out"?

I searched for its meaning as an idiom and as individual words but couldn't find any sense of it.

1 Answer 1


"knocked out" is a phrasal verb which has various meanings depending on the context. In this case, it means

to destroy something, or to stop it working

  • The earthquake knocked out power supplies in many parts of the city.

To destroy or severely damage something

  • destroy, ruin, devastate

One of the definitions for clean according to Merriam-Webster is

a : thorough, complete

  • a clean break with the past

b : deftly executed, skillful

  • clean ballet technique
  • The gymnast made a clean landing.

c : hit beyond the reach of an opponent

  • a clean single to center

So Captain Cram is saying that even if all the rocks on the coast of Maine were piled onto the schooner, and made a hole in its hull "clean" (thereby damaging it completely), it would probably still cause problems.

  • @tenos Thank you for the opportunity to answer. If you're happy with the answer, and you wish to do so, you may "accept" the answer. There should be a tick box or something to the left of the question. :)
    – bookmanu
    Commented Sep 17, 2018 at 11:20

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