from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Boisterous; rowdy.
  • adjective Appropriate for rough wear or use.
  • noun A small sloop with a mainsail, jib, and keel but no bowsprit.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Noting something which knocks (other things) about; rough; buffeting; boisterous: as, a knockabout game of foot-ball.
  • Accustomed to knock about or to be knocked about: as, a knockabout globe-trotter; suitable to be knocked about in: as, a knockabout coat.
  • Noisy; full of horse-play: as, a knockabout entertainment; knockabout business.
  • In Australia, applied to a jack of all trades on a station.
  • noun A traveler; one who has knocked about.
  • noun A performer in a knockabout playorsketch;the sketch itself.
  • noun In Australia, a hand on a station who does a little of everything.
  • noun A small sailing-yacht of light construction and simple sail rig, the latter consisting of a mainsail and a jib bent on a stay that is set up on the stem of the boat. These boats, as a rule, are flat-bottomed, with a fin-keel, and can be handled very quickly, going from one tack to another without apparently losing speed. Some knockabouts are provided with a center-board instead of a fin, for use in shallow waters.
  • noun A small launch.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Naut.) A small yacht, generally from fifteen to twenty-five feet in length, having a mainsail and a jib; a sloop with a simplified rig and no bowsprit. All knockabouts have ballast and either a keel or centerboard. The original type was twenty-one feet in length. The next larger type is called a raceabout.
  • noun Theat. Slang A knockabout performer or performance.
  • noun Colloq., Australia A man hired on a sheep station to do odd jobs.
  • adjective Marked by knocking about or roughness.
  • adjective Theat. Slang Of noisy and violent character; marked by farce, pratfalls, and horseplay.
  • adjective Characterized by, or suitable for, knocking about, or traveling or wandering hither and thither; suitable for use in rough activity; suited for everyday use; -- used especially of clothing.
  • adjective Collog., Australia That does odd jobs; -- said of a class of hands or laborers on a sheep station.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Boisterous
  • adjective Suitable for rough use.
  • noun sailing A small sailboat lacking a bowsprit, of a type found primarily in the Massachusetts area
  • noun entertainment A slapstick comedy or comedian.
  • noun A tumbler.
  • noun Clothing suitable for rough use.
  • noun Workers habitually engaged in casual employment.
  • noun People living in rough, violent conditions.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective full of rough and exuberant animal spirits
  • noun a sloop with a simplified rig and no bowsprit
  • adjective suitable for rough use
  • verb be around; be alive or active
  • verb strike against forcefully


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

knock +‎ about


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word knockabout.


  • Sir Alex Ferguson's side a real end of term knockabout feel and even less incentive for the neutral to tune in tonight. news, business, sport, the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Sunday Telegraph 2009

  • The vaudeville act of "The Fighting Keatons" concentrated almost completely on the category known as knockabout farce.

    Instant Education 2007

  • There was another called a knockabout - (I am not very good on these things but apparently a knockabout knows every machine in the shop) and they tell me they were coming back to start training women in Canada with the same high hopes, and I am sure those hopes will be carried out, and the women of Canada will be as good as the women of England.

    There Are No Civilians In London 1941

  • For those of us brought up on the "he'll be disappointed with that" school of punditry beloved of former footballers, this kind of knockabout stuff is almost worth getting up – or staying up – for.

    The ravelled mystery of David Lloyd's eyebrows Martin Kelner 2010

  • But, largely as a result of some ill-considered comments by Rhodri Morgan about climate change the day before, the debate degenerated into 'knockabout'.

    Archive 2007-02-01 Glyn Davies 2007

  • But, largely as a result of some ill-considered comments by Rhodri Morgan about climate change the day before, the debate degenerated into 'knockabout'.

    Carwyn Blowing with the Wind. Glyn Davies 2007

  • Guido is a very different show, he's "knockabout".

    A Big Stick and a Small Carrot Garry 2006

  • Here he secured the "knockabout" horse, always kept saddled and bridled about the station for generally-useful work, and set off at a swinging canter up the paddock after his own steed.

    Outback Marriage, an : a story of Australian life 1902

  • Don’t believe you’d care for the kind of knockabout jobs I’ll have to get.”

    Our Mr. Wrenn 2004

  • Don't believe you'd care for the kind of knockabout jobs I'll have to get. "

    Our Mr. Wrenn, the Romantic Adventures of a Gentle Man Sinclair Lewis 1918


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.