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1. Literally, in a position of having a gun pointed at one, as in an armed robbery. The robber held the security guard at gunpoint.
2. By extension, in a position of being held under extreme pressure or aggressively coerced. Don't try to hold me at gunpoint—I'll make a decision when I'm good and ready!
In a position of having a knife pointed at one, as in an armed robbery. The robber held the security guard at knifepoint.
The sharp end of a knife, which can be pointed at someone to subdue them. The robber held the security guard at knifepoint.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Also, at knifepoint. Under coercion, as in I'm going to hold him at gunpoint for that raise he promised me last year. Both these phrases were at first used literally and later also figuratively. [Mid-1900s]
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.
at ˈknifepointwhile being threatened, or threatening somebody, with a knife: She was attacked at knifepoint.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
Under or as if under the threat of being shot.
Under threat of being stabbed or cut with a knife: was mugged at knifepoint.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.