Knock one over with a feather and knock one down with a feather

Knock one over with a feather and knock one down with a feather are two versions of an idiom. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom knock one over with a feather and knock one down with a feather, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Knock one over with a feather and knock one down with a feather denote surprise, shock, or astonishment. The expressions knock one over with a feather and knock one down with a feather describe the fact that one is so overcome, even the small amount of pressure expended by the weight of a feather could cause that person to collapse. The phrases knock one over with a feather and knock one down with a feather came into use in the latter-1700s in the United States. According to Google Ngram, the knock one down with a feather version is slightly more popular than the knock one over with a feather version, though they are fairly evenly matched.

Examples

Knock me down with a feather – I did not see that one coming. (Southern Star)

As for those lockdown-lifting measures from Boris that pious Sturgeon used for maximum media impact, including a farcical suggestion from her party to introduce a police border between Scotland and England — knock me down with a feather! — she’s only gone and followed suit a week later. (The Sun)

“You could knock me over with a feather,” Pulis has since said about his former player’s transformation. (Forbes)

“Well color me surprised and knock me over with a feather.” (Vanity Fair)