down for the count


down for the count


  • doomed, finished, or defeated.
  • (In boxing) defeated by being thrown to the ground and failing to rise within 10 seconds.
  • cannot function properly because of an illness.
  • unable to meet one’s obligations or responsibilities.
  • having been close to being overcome, defeated, or ruined.

Examples in Sentences

  1. I doubt she’ll leave the hospital. Her illness has her down for the count.
  2. The firm had too much debt, and I therefore think it’s safe to say it’s down for the count at this stage.
  3. I’m down for the count because of this problem, and I’m looking for a quick solution.
  4. I was so tired yesterday that I went down for the count at night.
  5. The final votes have been tallied; therefore, the governor’s hopes for re-election are down for the count.
  6. The firm has trouble with the management and is about to go down for the count.


The phrase “down for the count” is a symbolic reference to the boxing sport, where contestants lose the match if their opponent knocks them down and they cannot get up before the referee counts to ten. The boxer, therefore, loses the game. The idiom is used to indicate that something or someone is failing. It has been in use since the 1900s. The phrase can also mean that a person has given up on a task and is not returning to it.

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