Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

bring (somebody/something) to (its/their) knees

bring somebody to their kneesbring something to its knees
Meaning(s)
1) to cause a person or organisation/thing to surrender or submit
  • How to MemorizePopularity MediumProfessional MediumSocial
    • the bombing brought the city to its knees
  • Analysis
     When you bring somebody (or something) down to their knees, you force them to submit or surrender to your power or control. When you bring somebody or something to their knees you make them powerless or force them to give into your demands or needs. This idiomatic expression can be used in a dramatic context or to explain or discuss imbalances in power in social or professional situations.
  • Social Examples (Advance)
    1. They need to discipline that child. Every time she has a tantrum, it brings the whole family to its knees.
    2. The bank insisted on unreasonable repayments which brought hundreds of families to their knees.
  • Professional Examples (Basic)
    1. The sudden hike in Council rates brought many traders to their knees.
    2. The strike brought airlines to their knees and forced them into negotiations.
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