from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person whose job was to go from house to house in the early morning and wake up workers by tapping on the bedroom window with a long pole.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A person employed, especially in mill towns, to go about and waken those whose work requires them to be up early.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • For a few pennies a week, a knocker-up would come around to wake you at whatever time you requested.

    'Mary Smith' Wakes Up Village Sleepyheads

  • SIMON: (Reading) It's Monday morning, hours before dawn, and Mary Smith, the knocker-up, has left her home.

    'Mary Smith' Wakes Up Village Sleepyheads

  • In England, one solution to this problem was to hire someone called a knocker-up.

    'Mary Smith' Wakes Up Village Sleepyheads

  • That morning, when John Storm went to take seven-o'clock celebration, the knocker-up with his long stick had not yet finished his rounds in the courts and alleys about the church, but the costers with their barrows and donkeys, their wives and their children, were making an early start for Epsom.

    The Christian A Story

  • The knocker-up, who was a lame man, had shaken hands with the

    The Christian A Story

  • The publican, who carried a stick, was drunk, and the "knocker-up" was staggering on a crutch.

    The Christian A Story

  • The introduction of mass-produced watches and clocks in the 1850’s spread time-consciousness among those who had previously merely reacted to the stimulus of the knocker-up or the factory whistle.

    THE TYRANNY OF THE CLOCK- George Woodcock

  • "knocker-up" lifted his crutch and with the upper end of it he battered at the dog's brains.

    The Christian A Story

  • "knocker-up," two or three apprentices, etc. As she read all this, Glory was at the same time glowing with shame, trembling with fear, and burning with indignation.

    The Christian A Story


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  • "Very sorry to knock you up, Watson," said he, "but it's the common lot this morning. Mrs. Hudson has been knocked up, she retorted upon me, and I on you."

    Now, when young ladies wander about the metropolis at this hour of the morning, and knock sleepy people up...I presume it is something very pressing which they have to communicate."

    -The Adventure of the Speckled Band, Doyle


    February 17, 2009

  • The Knocker-Up

    A pal of mine once said to me,

    Will you knock me up at half-past three?"

    And so promptly at half-past one,

    I knocked him up and said, "O John,

    I've just come round to tell ya

    I've just come round to tell ya,

    I've just come round to tell ya,

    You've got two more hours to sleep!"

    - to the tune of "So Early in the Morning". In the days before alarm clocks, working people often had someone with

    a long pole come and knock on their window to wake them up

    for (shift) work. This person was called a "knocker up."

    July 17, 2008

  • ...and then there was the knocker-ups. Well we had a bloke in our street, he lived at the bottom end of the street, now he was the knocker-up. You know what a knocker-up is? Well he had a big long pole and he had wires fastened to it at the top and he used to go round to these houses and he used to rattle on the window with these wires, you know, until he got an answer and then he used to go and do that. Well he'd only get about tuppence or threepence a week for doing that, you know.

    July 17, 2008