daylight

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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!
See also: daylight, living

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!
See also: daylight, of, out, scare

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!
See also: daylight, frighten, of, out

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

begin to see daylight

To realize that one is approaching the end of a project or task. When I scheduled my thesis defense, I began to see daylight after two years of hard work.
See also: begin, daylight, see

daylight robbery

A situation in which one is charged an exorbitant price. I need to find another mechanic because this bill is just daylight robbery! I can't believe how much he charged for a simple repair.
See also: daylight, robbery

in broad daylight

Out in the open during the daytime, when anyone can see what's happening. The gangland feud is getting so bad that people are being shot in broad daylight. What's the world coming to when even a nun gets robbed in broad daylight?
See also: broad, daylight

beat the hell out of someone

 and 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.
See also: beat, hell, of, out

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.
See also: begin, daylight, see

daylight robbery

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.
See also: daylight, robbery

frighten the hell out of someone

 and 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.
See also: frighten, hell, of, out

highway robbery

outrageous overpricing; a bill that is much higher than normally acceptable but must be paid. (As if one had been accosted and robbed on the open road or in broad daylight.) Four thousand dollars! That's highway robbery for one piece of furniture! I won't pay it! It's highway robbery!
See also: highway, robbery

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.
See also: broad, daylight

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.
See also: daylight, knock, 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

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.
See also: begin, daylight, see

broad daylight

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]
See also: broad, daylight

daylight robbery

Charging exorbitant prices, as in The amount you're asking for this couch is daylight robbery. [Mid-1900s] Also see highway robbery.
See also: daylight, robbery

highway robbery

The exaction of an exorbitantly high price or fee. For example, You paid ten dollars for that meat? That's highway robbery. This term, used figuratively since the late 1800s, alludes to literal robbery of travelers on or near a public road.
See also: 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.
See also: daylight, knock, living, of, out

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]
See also: daylight, let, through

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.
See also: of, out, scare, wit

in broad daylight

COMMON If someone does something illegal or daring in broad daylight, they do it openly in the daytime when people can see it. Six gunmen attacked his car with automatic rifles in broad daylight. I have recently spotted three women wearing Catwoman outfits in broad daylight. Note: This expression is often used to emphasize that someone's behaviour is surprising or shocking.
See also: broad, daylight

beat the living daylights out of someone

If someone beats the living daylights out of someone else, they attack them physically, hitting them many times. That gave them the signal to start beating the living daylights out of each other. Note: You can also say that someone beats the daylights out of someone else. Steve beat the daylights out of him with a length of bike chain. Note: Verbs such as knock, kick and thump can be used instead of beat. I was set upon by three men who kicked the living daylights out of me. Note: The word `daylights' in this expression may be related to an old threat to `make daylight shine through' someone by stabbing them or shooting them. Alternatively, it may be related to an old meaning of `daylights' referring to someone's eyes or internal organs. If they were badly beaten, their `daylights' would stop working.
See also: beat, daylight, living, of, out

scare the living daylights out of someone

or

scare the daylights out of someone

If someone or something scares the living daylights out of you or scares the daylights out of you, they frighten you very much. You scared the living daylights out of me last night with all that screaming. Bears appear in back gardens and garages, where they scare the daylights out of residents. Note: The verb frighten is sometimes used instead of scare. A tremendous wind swept off the land and frightened the living daylights out of us.
See also: daylight, living, of, out, scare

highway robbery

BRITISH, AMERICAN or

daylight robbery

BRITISH
You use highway robbery or daylight robbery to describe a situation in which you are charged far too much money for something. They're charging ten bucks for the comics, which sounds like highway robbery to us. You have to pay thousands of dollars for the service. It's daylight robbery!
See also: highway, robbery

in broad daylight

used generally to express surprise or outrage at someone's daring to carry out a particular act, especially a crime, during the day, when anyone could see it.
See also: broad, daylight

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

burn daylight

use artificial light in daytime; waste daylight.
See also: burn, daylight

daylight robbery

blatant and unfair overcharging. British informal
2005 MotleyFool.co.uk: Comment Have you seen the price of potted plants and fruit trees in garden centres recently? It's daylight robbery.
See also: daylight, robbery

frighten (or scare) the (living) daylights out of

give someone a very severe fright.
This expression was a mid 20th-century development from beat the living daylights out of , on the premise that the effect of extreme fear is as drastic as physical violence.
1955 Frank Yerby The Treasure of Pleasant Valley Didn't mean to hit him…Meant to throw close to him and scare the living daylights out of him.
See also: daylight, frighten, of, out

see daylight

begin to understand what was previously puzzling or unclear.
See also: daylight, see

in broad ˈdaylight

in the clear light of day, when it is easy to see: He was attacked right in the centre of town in broad daylight. OPPOSITE: (in) the dead of (the) night
See also: broad, daylight

ˌdaylight ˈrobbery

(informal, especially British English) a price or fee that you think is far too high: £6 000 for an old car like this? That’s daylight robbery!
See also: daylight, robbery

see ˈdaylight

begin to understand something that you didn’t understand before: It was a long time before he finally saw daylight and realized what was going on.
See also: daylight, see

beat/scare the (living) ˈdaylights out of somebody

(informal) hit somebody/something very hard and repeatedly; frighten somebody very much: He said if I did it again he’d beat the living daylights out of me!I don’t think I’ll go to see that new horror film at the cinema. Jane said it scared the daylights out of her.
See also: beat, daylight, of, out, scare, somebody

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!
See also: both, broad, butt, daylight, find, hand

see daylight

To make sufficient progress so that completion of a project seems possible.
See also: daylight, see

daylight robbery

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!”
See also: daylight, robbery