Idioms

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.

Idioms

down and out

down and out

Meaning:
– homeless or penniless person
– someone who has no home, no job and no money
– poor and unlucky, bumming and boozing
– poor person who need help
– lacking funds, resources, or prospects; destitute

Examples:
1. After losing his job, he was left down and out.
2. I just assumed he was a down and out, begging on the street corner.
3. She was one of the many down-and-outers waiting for the soup kitchen to open.
4. When he was down and out, he went to the Salvation Army.

Origin:
Lacking funds or prospects; destitute, penniless. For example, After losing his job, car, and home, he was completely down and out. This term probably originated in boxing, where it alludes to the fighter who is knocked down and stays down for a given time, thereby losing the bout.

A boxer who is “down” has been knocked to the canvas, and one who is also “out” is unconscious or unable to resume the fight; thus a down-and-out boxer is utterly defeated. AHDI states the term “probably” came from boxing, circa 1900; OED references boxing rather obliquely, and cites first figurative usage to 1889.

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