dead as a doorknob

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


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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 and original being doornail used by William Shakespeare, in Henry VI, Part 2, act 4, scene 10; and also by Charles Dickens in A Christmas Carol. Others include doormat, dodo, herring, kipper, mackerel, rock, and graveyard.