take the starch out of

take the starch out of someone

 
1. Fig. to make someone less arrogant or stiff. I told a joke that made Mr. Jones laugh very hard. It really took the starch out of him. John is so arrogant. I'd really like to take the starch out of him!
2. Fig. to make someone tired and weak. This hot weather really takes the starch out of me. What a long day! It sure took the starch out of me.
See also: of, out, starch, take

take the starch out of

Deflate or ridicule someone, as in That practical joke at the office party really took the starch out of Nick. This expression, first recorded in 1840, alludes to the starch used to stiffen a shirt.
See also: of, out, starch, take