kick in the pants
Also found in: Acronyms.
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 (seat of the) pantsand kick in the ass; a kick in the butt; a kick in the teeth
Fig. Inf. a strong message of encouragement or demand. (Use ass and butt with discretion.) All he needs is a kick in the seat of the pants to get him going. A kick in the butt will get her moving.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
kick in the pantsverb
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
kick in the (seat of the) pants, a
A reproof or reprimand; also, a goad or spur to get someone moving. Both can be literal or figurative. The idea must be very old indeed, and the expression, a euphemism for a kick in the posterior, appeared in Samuel Butler’s Hudibras (1663). A more recent term with the same meaning as the first sense is a kick in the teeth, used from the mid-twentieth century on.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer