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OK Pedants, who knows this?

18 replies

NoBiggy · 09/01/2009 18:01

"Kick in"

Where does that come from?

Antibiotics, by all accounts, take a couple of days to "kick in".

If you have a drink, you can feel it "kick in".

Where would "kick in" be used in the literal sense?

OP posts:
georgiemum · 09/01/2009 18:02


jura · 09/01/2009 18:03

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GrimmaTheNome · 09/01/2009 18:04

It should be football, but don't they always throw rather than kick in?

winestein · 09/01/2009 18:05

According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable it menas "To pay one's share; to make one's contribution"

Have I just "kicked in"?

georgiemum · 09/01/2009 18:05

sorry - that is the extent of my football knowledge.

georgiemum · 09/01/2009 18:06

Ah! Rugby!

winestein · 09/01/2009 18:06

ahem *means

NoBiggy · 09/01/2009 18:06

It's used in the sense that there's a lag between cause and effect, so I'm trying to think of something that would do that...

Or even something that starts with a kick. I thought motorbike, but that doesn't seem to work.

OP posts:
NoBiggy · 09/01/2009 18:07

Winestein, I wouldn't have guessed that.

I must attend to a bottom, I'll be back.

OP posts:
JackieNo · 09/01/2009 18:07

I'd have thought it's more like in 'I get no kick from champagne' - so a physical jolt you get (like a kick) when something starts working?

winestein · 09/01/2009 18:09

Kick in the balls?

winestein · 09/01/2009 18:12

"I must attend to a bottom".

I love that phrase... I think I'm going to try to fit it into "outside of childcare" conversation.

HelenBurns · 09/01/2009 18:19

I wondered about this

and it being a shortening thereof perhaps

HelenBurns · 09/01/2009 18:21

As in,

'When is this stuff gonna kick me in the head?'

shortened to 'kick in'

georgiemum · 09/01/2009 18:27

Just found a website called ''. It doesn't really explain where it comes from but just so we all know the correct usage, and a little more...:

Pronunciation (US):

Dictionary entry overview: What does kick in mean?

? KICK IN (verb)
The verb KICK IN has 3 senses:

  1. enter a particular state

2. contribute to some cause
3. open violently

Familiarity information: KICK IN used as a verb is uncommon.

Dictionary entry details
? KICK IN (verb)

Sense 1 kick in [BACK TO TOP]


Enter a particular state

Classified under:

Verbs of being, having, spatial relations


kick in; set in

Context examples:

Laziness set in / After a few moments, the effects of the drug kicked in

Hypernyms (to "kick in" is one way to...):

begin; start (have a beginning, in a temporal, spatial, or evaluative sense)

Sentence frame:

Something ----s

Sense 2 kick in [BACK TO TOP]


Contribute to some cause

Classified under:

Verbs of buying, selling, owning


chip in; contribute; kick in; give

Context example:

I gave at the office

Hypernyms (to "kick in" is one way to...):

give (transfer possession of something concrete or abstract to somebody)

Troponyms (each of the following is one way to "kick in"):

combine (add together from different sources)

Sentence frames:

Somebody ----s
Somebody ----s something
Somebody ----s something to somebody

Sense 3 kick in [BACK TO TOP]


Open violently

Classified under:

Verbs of touching, hitting, tying, digging


kick down; kick in

Context example:

kick in the doors

Hypernyms (to "kick in" is one way to...):

destroy; ruin (destroy completely; damage irreparably)

Sentence frame:

Somebody ----s something

Learn English with... Proverbs of the week

"Butter is gold in the morning, silver at noon, lead at night." (English proverb)

"You will not get a big job done from whom does not want a small one." (Albanian proverb)

"Every ambitious man is a captive and every covetous one a pauper." (Arabic proverb)

"Nothing ventured, nothing gained." (Corsican proverb)
HelenBurns · 09/01/2009 18:30
georgiemum · 09/01/2009 18:49

Oh - didn't realise it was that long. Do I win some sort of prize?

NoBiggy · 10/01/2009 11:48

Thanks, lovely work there

So I think I can see "kick in" like "chip in". You take your tablets, a couple of days later you feel their contribution.

It sounds as if it should be more dramatic - I was imagining there was some fast, physical activity it was being compared to.

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