I've just come across a meaning of the verb "to kick" I didn't know before.

To provide the context, I'd like to give a Youtube link, but I'm not quite sure about this site's link policies. I have seen links to videos on Youtube on other stackexchanges, though, so I presume it's OK to post one here?

The video in question is this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDhWr6s4Fb4#t=02m07s (I've provided a time index in the URL so the video just jumps to the scene I heard the verb "to kick" being used in.)

At 02:18 he asks: "But, of course, how far does it go before it then kicks under?"

I then looked up "kick" in Merriam-Webster's online dictionary and found this definition:

to go from one place to another as circumstance or whim dictates

Which is the only one (of the ones given) that seems to make sense here. Am I right in assuming that this is indeed the correct meaning?

Also, why does he say "kicks under"?

The way I understand him is that, since the sewer pipe goes off at an angle, he asks himself at what point it comes parallel to the wall of the house. In this case, shouldn't he have better said "kicks over" instead of "kicks under"?

Finally, can you give other examples where kick is uses in that sense?

  • 4
    Try multiple dictionaries. I haven't watched the video, but I'd guess "kick under" in this content means to move under, with "kick" probably suggesting an unexpected movement, and "under" suggesting it turns down or goes beneath. "Kick" means a sudden movement as with a recoiling gun, and is also a term in snooker/billiards/pool/etc for a jolt of a ball. There's a certain element of metaphor/anthropomorphism/playfulness in using it to describe a pipe.
    – Stuart F
    Feb 25, 2022 at 21:03
  • American Heritage Dictionary, which can be found at onelook.com, has a lot of idioms with kick. This use here sounds as if it's a synonym of turn. Feb 26, 2022 at 0:36
  • A common use of that meaning of "kick" is something like, "He kicked around Europe for a year after college." I don't know how a pipe could "kick under", but I haven't watched the video. Feb 26, 2022 at 1:40
  • 1
    The sense you suggest is usually applied to dynamic rather than static situations, as in @MarcInManhattan's example. But slang usages (like others) often broaden, and the attribution of movement to a pipe say is by no means a novel metaphor ('the road goes round a bend here'; 'the pipe runs under the pavement'). Feb 28, 2022 at 15:33

1 Answer 1


Take into account that the speaker is a working man, speaking casually, so his word usage is likely to include definitions which are not fully on the radar of dictionaries. In this case there is likely to be an element of trade jargon in the mix.

The closest meaning I can find in the Oxford English dictionary online is this one which is 'kick up' rather than just 'kick':

Cricket. intransitive. Of a ball: To rebound more or less vertically.

If this isn't the source of the usage in the video, it certainly shares the sense of an abrupt change of direction.

We also find the concept of change of angle in some of the noun senses of 'Kick', which can denote the dent on the bottom of a bottle, a projection on the tang of a pocket knife or the projection in a brick mould which forms the frog indentation in the finished brick.

I would understand the phrase 'kicks off under the wall' to mean, 'changes direction to run under the wall'.

I would also use 'kicks' in similar ways to describe, for example the way render on a wall flares out away from the wall at its bottom edge (bell beading), I would say that it 'kicks out at the base'.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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