knock into a cocked hat


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knock (someone or something) into a cocked hat

1. To upset or discredit something. A "cocked hat" is another name for the three-cornered hats that men commonly wore in the 18th century. Primarily heard in UK. Well, this hurricane has really knocked our vacation plans into a cocked hat. This new study knocks his claims into a cocked hat, don't you think?
2. To outdo or surpass something. Primarily heard in UK. Of course I have to take this offer—it knocks the other one into a cocked hat. I know Ellen has the highest GPA in our class, but I plan to knock her into a cocked hat this semester!
See also: cock, hat, knock

knock something into a cocked hat

Fig. to demolish a plan, a story, etc. I knocked his plans into a cocked hat. This bad weather has knocked everything into a cocked hat.
See also: cock, hat, knock

knock into a cocked hat

Debunk, render useless or unbelievable. For example, His findings knocked our theory into a cocked hat. This expression alludes to a style of hat with the brim turned up on three sides-the three-cornered (tricorne) hat worn by officers in the American Revolution-giving it a distorted look. [Early 1800s]
See also: cock, hat, knock