take the starch out of

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

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