Bowl over

Bowl over is an expression that has a literal meaning but may also be used as an idiom. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase, or phrasal verbs that have a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. These figures of speech or literary devices often use descriptive imagery; common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often colloquialisms or descriptors that are spoken or are considered informal or conversational. An idiom may be a euphemism, an understatement or exaggeration, or an expression of irony or hyperbole. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase or expression that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions that native speakers understand such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, chin up, eye to eye, barking up the wrong tree, bite the bullet, red herring, hit the nail on the head, kick the bucket, blow off steam, jump on the bandwagon, piece of cake, hit the sack, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. It is possible to memorize a list of idioms, but it may be easier to pay attention to the use of idioms in everyday speech, where peculiar imagery will tell you that the expressions should not be taken literally. We will examine the meaning of the idiomatic phrase bowl over, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

The literal meaning of bowl over is to knock someone down. The figurative or idiomatic meaning of bowl over is to surprise someone, to astonish or amaze someone. The idiom bowl over is usually meant to express something pleasant. Bowl over is a term that first came into use in the 1800s and is taken from the sport of cricket. In cricket, an over is six consecutive deliveries bowled from one end of the pitch to the batter, who is located at the other end of the pitch. Related phrases are bowls over, bowled over, bowling over.


Good-looking, tall and looking sharp in uniforms, they are actually hairstylists at the premium branch of the Matt Barber Shop in Kuala Terengganu that has customers bowled over with their fancy skills. (The Daily Express)

PEEBLES Brownies have been bowled over by the kindness of a local sports club after almost being made homeless. (Peeblesshire News)

The fact that I’d never liked Mister Rogers as a kid, smirking even as a kindergartener at his cutesy indoor shoe routine, seemed irrelevant because the beauty of his kindness and strength had so bowled me over when I’d watched the documentary as a 44-year-old. (The National Post)

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