kick in the pants, a(redirected from kick in the breech, kick in the behind)
a kick in the pants
1. A forceful gesture or message of some kind (usually delivered with good intentions) that acts as motivation to the (previously unmotivated) recipient. These days, teenagers seem to need a swift kick in the pants to convince them to do well in school. That speeding ticket was the kick in the pants that Dan needed to get his driving under control. No, you can't stay here anymore. I know that sounds drastic, but I think a kick in the pants like this will help you get your life in order.
2. A frustrating or unwelcome occurrence. Having to move back in with my parents at age 40 is a real kick in the pants. Having to move back in with my parents at age 40 is a kick in the pants all right. Yep, my car broke down yesterday, and then today, I got fired. Talk about a kick in the pants.
3. A source of pleasure or enjoyment. Our night out was a real a kick in the pants—we had a great time. I didn't like the movie at all, but my dad thought it was a real kick in the pants and laughed uproariously the whole time. The carnival was a kick in the pants—the kids had a blast riding all the rides.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
kick in the pants, a
1. Also, a kick in the teeth. A humiliating setback or rebuff. For example, That rejection was a real kick in the pants, or That review was a kick in the teeth. A third, vulgar variant of these colloquial terms is a kick in the ass. Versions of this last expression- kick in the breech, kick in the behind-have been used since the early 1800s.
2. A cause of enjoyment, as in That show was a real kick in the pants. This meaning is virtually the opposite of def. 1 and can be differentiated from it only by the context. [1960s]
See also: kick
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.