starch

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Related to starching: starchy

knock the starch out of (one)

1. To strike or assault one violently and severely. Likened to a stiff, starched shirt being beaten until it is limp. Hey, watch it, pal, or I'll knock the starch out of you! Two guys mugged me and then knocked the starch out of me last night.
2. To completely outclass, outdo, or outperform someone or something; to soundly defeat or best someone or something. Catherine knocked the starch out of the other kids in the spelling bee.
3. To reduce or damage someone's ego or pride; to humble or humiliate someone. His defeat in court really knocked the starch out of Tom. Don't let a silly performance review knock the starch out of you like that—you've got to have confidence in your own abilities.
See also: knock, of, out, starch

take the starch out of (one)

To reduce or damage someone's ego or pride; to humble or humiliate someone. I'm really glad that pompous oaf lost his court case—maybe that will take the starch out of him a bit. His rejection from the literary magazine really took the starch out of Tom. Don't let a silly performance review take the starch out of you like that—you've got to have confidence in your own work.
See also: of, out, starch, take

kick the (natural) stuffing out of someone

 and beat the (natural) stuffing out of someone; take the stuffing out of someone; knock the starch out of someone; knock the stuffing out of someone
Rur. to kick or beat someone severely. Last time I was in a fight with Joe, he kicked the natural stuffing out of me. You do that again and I'll kick the stuffing out of you. Bill threatened to beat the natural stuffing out of any no-'count rascal who laid a hand on his sister.
See also: kick, of, out, stuffing

take the starch out of someone

 
1. Fig. to make someone less arrogant or stiff. I told a joke that made Mr. Jones laugh very hard. It really took the starch out of him. John is so arrogant. I'd really like to take the starch out of him!
2. Fig. to make someone tired and weak. This hot weather really takes the starch out of me. What a long day! It sure took the starch out of me.
See also: of, out, starch, take

take the starch out of

Deflate or ridicule someone, as in That practical joke at the office party really took the starch out of Nick. This expression, first recorded in 1840, alludes to the starch used to stiffen a shirt.
See also: of, out, starch, take

take the starch out of someone

shake someone's confidence, especially by humiliating them. US
See also: of, out, someone, starch, take

starched

and starchy
mod. alcohol intoxicated. (see also stiff.) No, he wasn’t quite stiff, but he was starched.
See also: starch

take the starch out of someone

tv. to reduce someone’s self-assurance; to reduce someone’s conceit. I took the starch out of Kelly by telling him where he was headed if he didn’t change his ways.
See also: of, out, someone, starch, take