Knocked for a loop and thrown for a loop

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Knocked for a loop and thrown for a loop are American terms that appear in the early twentieth century. These phrases are idioms, or a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definition of knocked for a loop and thrown for a loop, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Knocked for a loop and thrown for a loop mean to be astonished, to be surprised, to be awestruck or to be confused. Knocked for a loop is the older of the two terms and dates back at least to the 1920s to the sport of boxing. At that time, knocked for a loop had a literal meaning of being punched so badly that the boxer falls backward, even rolling over in a somersault fashion due to the impact. The corresponding idiom thrown for a loop appeared about a decade later, and the two literal phrases took on a figurative meaning.


But Ramirez got knocked for a loop recently when his 16-month-old son, Matteo, had a high fever and then a seizure. (The Fresno Bee)

The first-year Dalhousie student from the Truro area might have been knocked for a loop this spring when longtime teammate Mary Fay moved on to university in Ontario, bringing an end to a team that won the provincial, Canadian and world junior women’s titles in 2016. (The Local Xpress)

It may not come as a major consolation to those in Seoul who look to the U.S. for friendship and protection, but South Korea is not the only American ally to have been thrown for a loop because of Trump’s penchant for letting his Twitter feed write checks his foreign policy can’t cash. (The Huffington Post)

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