beat the (living) daylights out of (someone)

beat the (living) daylights out of (someone)

1. To deliver a violent and prolonged physical attack. Our neighbor is in the hospital because a burglar beat the daylights out of him. I'm worried that the captain of the football team will beat the living daylights out of me if he finds out that I'm secretly seeing his girlfriend. Oh, my boyfriend knows that I would beat the living daylights out of him if he ever lies to me about something that serious.
2. To defeat an opponent decisively. The final score was 17-1? Wow, we really beat the living daylights out of that team!
See also: beat, daylight, of, out

beat the living daylights out of

Also, knock or lick the hell or living daylights or shit or stuffing or tar out of . Administer a merciless beating to; also, defeat soundly. For example, The coach said he'd like to beat the living daylights out of the vandals who damaged the gym floor , or Bob knocked the stuffing out of that bully, or He swore he'd beat the tar out of anyone who tried to stop him. These colloquial phrases nearly always denote a physical attack. In the first, daylights originally (1700) meant "the eyes" and later was extended to any vital ( living) body organ. Thus Henry Fielding wrote, in Amelia (1752): "If the lady says another such words to me ... I will darken her daylights" (that is, put out her eyes). Hell here is simply a swear word used for emphasis. The more vulgar shit and the politer stuffing allude simply to knocking out someone's insides. Tar is more puzzling but has been so used since the late 1800s.
See also: beat, daylight, living, of, out

beat the (living) daylights out of

give someone a very severe beating. informal
Daylight or daylights has been used from the mid 18th century as a metaphor for ‘eyes’, and here has the extended sense of any vital organ of the body.
See also: beat, daylight, of, out