What does the idiom "bring to one's knees" mean?
The phrase bring to one's knees is often used in English, but what does this idiom mean? When idioms are used in the right situations, they strengthen communication and enrich the language. You can communicate more effectively by learning the meaning of bring to one's knees.
Meaning of "bring to one's knees"
The phrase 'bring to one's knees' is an idiom used to describe a situation where a person is weakened, either through physical or nonphysical means. This phrase implies a sense of powerlessness and helplessness, and it is usually used to refer to a situation that has caused a person to become overwhelmed or defeated. Additionally, the phrase can also be used to describe a situation where an individual has been weakened beyond their own ability to overcome a problem or challenge, as if their strength or resolve has been taken away.
This phrase is thought to have originated in the early 19th century. It likely comes from the traditional way that people would kneel in submission to a higher power, such as a king or ruler. Kneeling was seen to be a sign of respect and recognition, and this phrase is thought to have been used as a metaphor for a situation where an individual is brought to a state of submission, either through physical or nonphysical means.
The phrase ‘bring to one's knees’ usually carries a negative connotation, as it is used to describe a situation where a person has been overwhelmed or defeated. It is usually used to refer to situations of submission or surrender, such as in moments of war, where one side has been forced to yield in order to avoid further harm or destruction. The phrase can also be used colloquially to refer to any situation where somebody has been weakened or brought to a state of helplessness. For example, a person may be described as having been ‘brought to their knees’ if they have been completely and unexpectedly overwhelmed by a challenge or dilemma.
- The team was brought to their knees by the other side's relentless attack.
- The scandal was so damaging that it brought the politician to his knees.
- The daunting task seemed impossible, but eventually it brought him to his knees.
- Her determination was admirable, but the challenge eventually brought her to her knees.
The universal role of idioms
"Kill two birds with one stone" is an English idiom that means to accomplish two things with a single action. In French, the similar idiom is "Faire d'une pierre deux coups," which translates to "To kill two birds with one stone." This idiom highlights the efficiency of completing two tasks with one action.