put the boot in

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put the boot in

1. To kick someone over and over again, especially after they have already been knocked down. Primarily heard in UK. CCTV showed the three teenagers knocking a man to the ground and putting the boot in for nearly 20 minutes.
2. By extension, to make an unfortunate or unpleasant situation even worse; to add insult to injury. Primarily heard in UK. The star player's ban from the match really put the boot in for fans who were already suffering from a humiliating defeat.
See also: boot, put

put the boot in

BRITISH, INFORMAL
COMMON
1. If someone puts the boot in, they say very critical or unkind things about someone or something. Mr Carman uses his outstanding ability with language to put the boot in. Note: You can also say that someone puts the boot into someone or something. There's no one quite like an unpublished novelist for putting the boot into established reputations. Note: The verb stick is sometimes used instead of put. Instead of sticking the boot into those in poverty, the Prime Minister should give everyone an equal share of the cake.
2. If someone puts the boot in, they attack another person by kicking them. Policemen who are tempted to put the boot in occasionally will have to be more careful in future.
See also: boot, put