What Does Knock Your Socks Off Mean?

Knock Your Socks Off Meaning

Definition: To impress someone a great deal.

Origin of Knock Your Socks Off

The exact origin of this expression is unknown. However, it started to become popular around the 1980s. Some sources speculate that perhaps it was connected to a similar expression, knock your block off, which means to hit someone very hard.

With this meaning, knock your socks off could mean to hit someone so hard their socks would come off. It may have changed over the years to mean to surprise someone in a positive way.

Examples of Knock Your Socks Off

knock their socks offThis dialogue shows two coworkers having a discussion about a wedding. One of them then uses the expression to describe a big surprise regarding the dress requirements for those in the wedding.

Deanna: How’s the wedding planning going?

Emily: Not too bad. We’re keeping it small with fewer than 50 people.

Deanna: I hope that I am still invited!

Emily: Of course! I’m hoping you’ll be one of my bridesmaids!

Deanna: I would love to be a bridesmaid! Do you know what kind of dress you want your bridesmaids to wear?

Emily: Absolutely! You’re going to love it. It will knock your socks off; I promise!

Deanna: Normally, I wouldn’t believe you since most bridesmaids’ dresses are hideous, but you have excellent taste, so I’m looking forward to wearing it!

knock socks off definitionIn the second example, two teammates are playing baseball when one of them uses the expression to describe some new baseball equipment.

Billy: Is that a new bat?

Angie: It is, in fact! It was expensive, but it was totally worth it.

Billy: What’s so special about it?

Angie: Try it for yourself! You’ll be able to tell when you hit the ball. It’ll knock your socks off!

Billy: Sure, I’d love to try it. Pitch for me.

More Examples

In the first excerpt, the idiom describes how surprisingly beautiful and impressive flowering trees can be.

  • If the beautiful blooms inspire you to plant a flowering crab, you’ll want to choose carefully, says Phil Riske, senior horticulturist at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. There are hundreds of varieties of these small, resilient, adaptable trees. You can find just the one to suit your site and knock your socks off in May. Some are not only lovely to look at, but richly fragrant. –Chicago Tribune

The second excerpt uses this idiom to describe how surprisingly delicious cupcakes are.

  • “For the cupcakes, we have one that’s called ‘peaches ‘n cream.’ It’s an amazing peach flavor, light. It’s so great. It’s one of those underdogs that people really don’t think about, but when you come in and try it, it’ll knock your socks off.” –Chicago Tribune

Summary

The phrase knock your socks off is another way to say that something will surprise someone in a good way.