dead as a doorknob

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Possibly from a misinterpretation or misunderstanding of the expression dead as a doornail. See usage notes below.

Adjective[edit]

dead as a doorknob

  1. (simile) Entirely, unquestionably or certainly dead.
    I tried the flashlight, but the battery was as dead as a doorknob.
    I found the mouse who lived in our wall, lying on his back with his feet in the air—as dead as a doorknob.

Usage notes[edit]

Many other nouns can be substituted for "doorknob", perhaps the oldest being "doornail" from William Shakespeare, in Henry VI, Part 2, act 4, sc. 10, l. 40-1. Jack Cade. Also in A Christmas Carol. Other common forms include doormat, dodo, rock, graveyard.

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