Definition of Down and Out

What does the term "down and out" mean? What is meant by the term "down and out"?

The boxer is on the ground - Down and out! - Illustration.The often-used term "down and out" originated from the world of boxing.

In mainstream usage, "down and out" usually refers to somebody who have no money and no prospects. For instance, if somebody has been fired from their job, has no money and is living in their car, people would probably say that they are "down and out".

In boxing, if somebody is knocked to the canvas, they are said to be "down".

If they are "out", this means that they have been knocked out and the match is likely over, unless they suddenly snap back to consciousness and get back up.

It goes without saying that somebody who is "down and out" when boxing is in very bad shape, and this term has been borrowed to mean anybody who is having a rough go in their lives.