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Related to daylight: daylight savings, Daylight savings time
the living daylights
1. The senses. Used as an expression of intensity, especially in the phrases "beat/kick the living daylights out of someone" or "scare/frighten the living daylights out of someone." Jim had one too many drinks, picked a fight with a group of thugs, and had the living daylights beaten out of him! Don't sneak up on me like that—you scared the living daylights out of me!
2. obsolete The eyes. This was the original usage in the 18th century, but it eventually fell out of use and gave way to the more figurative definition above. Should that rapscallion show his mischievous face on my estate again, I shall blacken his living daylights without remorse or restraint!
scare the (living) daylights out of (someone)
To shock or frighten someone very suddenly and/or severely. Don't sneak up on me like that; you scared the living daylights out of me!
frighten the (living) daylights out of (someone)
To shock or frighten someone very suddenly and/or severely. Don't sneak up on me like that; you frightened the living daylights out of me!
beat the hell out of someoneand beat the living daylights out of someone ; beat the pants off (of) someone; beat the shit out of someone; beat the socks off (of) someone; beat the stuffing out of someone; beat the tar out of someone
1. Fig. to defeat someone very badly. (Caution: the use of the word shit is considered vulgar and is offensive to many people. Of is usually retained before pronouns.) Our team beat the hell out of the other side. We beat the stuffing out of the other side.
2. Fig. Inf. to batter someone severely. (Alludes to physical violence, not the removal of someone's pants. Of is usually retained before pronouns.) The thugs beat the living daylights out of their victim. If you do that again, I'll beat the pants off of you. Before the boxing match Max said he would beat the socks off Lefty.
begin to see daylight
Fig. to begin to see the end of a long task. I've been working on my thesis for two years, and at last I'm beginning to see daylight. I've been so busy. Only in the last week have I begun to see daylight.
Fig. the practice of blatantly or grossly overcharging. It's daylight robbery to charge that amount of money for a hotel room! The cost of renting a car at that place is daylight robbery.
frighten the hell out of someoneand frighten the pants off someone; frighten the living daylights out of someone; scare the living daylights out of someone; scare the shit out of someone; scare the wits out of someone
to frighten someone badly, suddenly or both. (Use of hell and shit are crude.) These figures frighten the hell out of me. The door blew shut and scared the shit out of me. It takes a lot to scare the pants off a hardened criminal.
in broad daylight
in the open light of day; clearly visible. The crime was committed in broad daylight. Bill stood there in broad daylight, but we never saw him.
knock the (living) daylights out of someone
Fig. Inf. to beat someone severely. If you do that again, I will knock the living daylights out of you. Fred wants to knock the living daylights out of his enemy, Mike "Fingers" Moran.
in broad daylight
when anyone can see what is happening These robberies took place in broad daylight and not one person has been arrested for them!
Usage notes: often used to show great surprise that something evil could be done without any effort to hide it
beat the hell out of somebody
1. to hit someone hard and repeatedly Bill beat the hell out of me after we started arguing over a girl.
2. to completely defeat someone It's a thrill to beat the hell out of another team in front of 20,000 screaming fans.Related vocabulary: (it) beats me
beat the hell out of something
to be much better than something It wasn't much of a plan, but it beat the hell out of sitting around the office waiting for something to happen.
in broad daylight
if a crime is committed in broad daylight, it happens during the day when it could easily have been seen and prevented The man was shot at close range in broad daylight in front of his house.
beat/knock the (living) daylights out of somebody
to hit someone very hard many times I'll knock the living daylights out of him if I catch him doing it again!
frighten/scare the (living) daylights out of somebody
to frighten someone very much Don't come up behind me like that. You scared the living daylights out of me!
frighten/scare the hell out of somebody(informal)
to make someone feel very frightened He drives like a madman - frightens the hell out of me.
daylight robbery(British, American & Australian) also highway robbery (American & Australian)
a situation in which you are charged much more for something than you think you should have to pay Three pounds for an orange juice? It's daylight robbery!
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.
begin to see daylight
Realize that a task is finally nearing completion, that success or the right solution is near at hand. For example, I've been working on this experiment for two years and I'm finally beginning to see daylight . The noun daylight has been a metaphor for knowledge and solution since the late 1600s. Also see light at the end of the tunnel; see the light.
Ample and obvious natural light, as in You don't need your flashlight-it's broad daylight, or She was accosted on her own street in broad daylight. [1300s]
Charging exorbitant prices, as in The amount you're asking for this couch is daylight robbery. [Mid-1900s] Also see highway robbery.
knock the living daylights out of
Also, knock the shit or stuffing or tar out of . See beat the living daylights out of.
let daylight through
Shoot or stab a person, especially fatally. For example, Stick up your hands or I'll let daylight through you. This idiom alludes to making a hole in someone's body. [Slang; early 1700s]
scare out of one's wits
Also, frighten out of one's wits; scare stiff or silly or to death or the living daylights out of or the pants off . Terrify, make one panic, as in When the lights went out, she was scared out of her wits, or I was scared stiff that I would fail the driver's test. The first of these hyperbolic terms, scare out of one's wits, is the oldest and, like silly, suggests one is frightened enough to lose one's mind. The verb scare dates from about 1200, and out of one's wits was first recorded in William Tyndale's translation of the Bible in 1526 (I Corinthians 14:23): "Will they not say that ye are out of your wits?" They were first put together in 1697, the same period from which came scare out of one's seven senses, a usage now obsolete. The variant using daylights, which sometimes occurs without living, dates from the 1950s. Daylights at one time referred to the eyes but here means "vital organs." Frighten to death was first recorded in Charles Dickens's Barnaby Rudge (1840) and scare to death probably appeared about the same time. However, to death used as an intensifier dates from the 1500s. These terms allude to the fact that a sudden fright can precipitate cardiac arrest. Scare stiff, first recorded in 1905, alludes to the temporary paralysis that can accompany intense fear. For the last variant, see also under pants off.
can’t find one’s butt with both hands (in broad daylight)
tv. is stupid or incompetent. (Mildly objectionable.) Why did they put Jim in charge? He can’t find his butt with both hands!
To make sufficient progress so that completion of a project seems possible.
An outrageously high price. An appliance store advertises a refrigerators for $900, but you see ads for the same brand and model elsewhere for half that price. That store, you conclude, is committing daylight robbery, a “crime” so metaphorically blatant that it is being committed in broad daylight. That's not to be confused with “highway robbery.” “Daylight robbery” offers you the option of paying the money or not, but you don't have that choice in “highway robbery,” just as the victim of a stagecoach holdup had no choice. Your city raises property taxes. You receive the bill, take one look, and scream, “That's highway robbery!”