knock on / knocking on a bit [grow old]

SuprunP

Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
knock on
informal grow old
she's knocking on a bit
Oxford Dictionary of English

I've heard it used once on BBC Radio London's Drivetime show with Eddie Nestor by Eddie Nestor himself (if memory serves). Since only two of my dictionaries actually register this meaning (namely Oxford Dictionary of English and The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition) I would be grateful if you could tell me whether you know this phrasal verb, have heard it or use it.

Thanks.
 
  • jacdac

    Senior Member
    Lebanese
    This question has been added to a previous thread.
    Please scroll up and read from the top.

    Cagey, moderator

    ‘And the tourists? Anyone there raise any concerns?’ ‘They all seemed perfectly happy to look and listen to the guides,’ Den said. ‘A lot of them were knocking on a bit. Couldn’t see them shinning up a drainpipe after a Turner seascape.’
    Source: Darkness on the Fens by Joy Ellis
    Context: Greenborough’s annual tradition of celebrations and festivals are underway. “Dark Greenborough” celebrated the darker side of life, and explored the town’s mysterious, sometimes notorious, happenings. Old “haunted” houses were opened to the public, groups of “ghost walkers” trailed round the streets at night led by guides carrying lanterns. Pubs and restaurants took on otherworldly themes and old murders and terrible deeds were reenacted in makeshift street “theatres,” while all manner of spookily dressed street entertainers roamed around, performing for anyone who cared to watch and throw them a few coins.

    What does knocking on a bit mean? The dictionary definition - getting older - does not make sense. Your thoughts?

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    The dictionary definition - getting older - does not make sense.
    Yes it does, although that definition is not quite right. It isn't "getting older", it is "growing old". They are knocking on a bit = they are elderly. Hence
    Couldn’t see them shinning up a drainpipe
    I can't see elderly tourists climbing up a drainpipe.

    < Threads merged. Thank you. Cagey, moderator >
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    By the way, which dictionary are you using, jacdac? Lexico (Oxford online) is clear.
    knock on
    phrasal verb

    1 informal Grow old.
    ‘she's knocking on a bit’

    2 also knock the ball on Rugby
    Illegally drive the ball with the hand or arm towards the opponents' goal line.
    It was unknown before 1969
    According to the Shorter Slang Dictionary (Fergusson, from Partridge and Beale) it dates from the 1930s.
     
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