knock (the) spots off (someone or something)

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knock (the) spots off (someone or something)

To completely outclass, outdo, or outperform someone or something; to soundly defeat or best someone or something. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Wow, this coffee knocks the spots off the stuff we get back home. Catherine knocked spots off the other kids in the spelling bee.
See also: knock, off, spot
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

knock spots off someone/something

If one thing or person knocks spots off another, the first is much better than the second. I'm looking forward to the return of her chat show. It knocks spots off all the others. Caroline didn't have much experience, but she knocked spots off everyone else I'd interviewed — she was so charming and friendly. Note: The reference here is probably to someone who is shooting so well that they are able to knock out the spots or marks on a playing card that they are aiming at.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

knock spots off

easily outdo. informal
This expression may refer to shooting out the pips (spots) on a playing card in a pistol-shooting competition. Although it is now found chiefly in British English, the phrase originated in America.
1997 Spectator [ Walter Laut Palmer's ] ‘Morning in Venice’ is a tour-de-force…It knocks spots off the neighbouring, deeply unattractive, Monet of a gondola.
See also: knock, off, spot
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

knock ˈspots off somebody/something

(British English, informal) be very much better than somebody/something else: This book knocks spots of all the other books on Napoleon.You’ll knock spots off her. You’re a much better player.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

knock the spots off, to

To defeat overwhelmingly or to excel. This term, which Ebenezer Brewer believed to come from target practice with playing cards, with the object of knocking out all the pips or spots from a card, dates from the mid-nineteenth century. “We did knock the spots off them that time,” wrote Henry Latham (Black and White, 1867), meaning we beat them, and Mark Twain wrote, “He knocked the spots out any acting ever I see before” (Huckleberry Finn, 1884), meaning he surpassed all others. It is currently heard less often than a similar expression, to knock someone’s socks off. A seemingly still more unlikely accomplishment, it, too, means to beat or trounce someone. Catherine Beecher used it in a letter in 1845: “You must knock the socks off those Old School folks!” More recently it has acquired another meaning, “to astonish” or “delight,” as in “The special effects in that movie will knock your socks off.”
See also: knock, spot, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
See Mary Tudor knock the spots off Mary Queen of Scots!
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From snake and zebra to leopard print, you'll knock the spots off the rest of the fashion pack Yellow and black animal print maxidress, PS60, SimplyBe.
But then I was never charging anyone more than PS100 to read my GCSE science paper or watch me slide about on a muddy field of a Sunday morning, so I expected slightly more than a "good try" from a restaurant whose surroundings can knock the spots off most of what Cardiff has to offer.
You knock the spots off any choirs in the North West and our surrounding area!
It managed to knock the spots off the Cape Mentelle and, my cohorts, that doesn't happen often.
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Huddersfield landlords really did knock the spots off the opposition when they won the Licensed Victuallers Association tournament for the third year running.
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