Posted by R. Berg on May 28, 2003
In Reply to: Knock about posted by Bookworm on May 28, 2003
: : Any help will be appreciated!
: : "You are nine-and-twenty," she observed, "and you've done nothing but--"
: : "Knock about? It is true. Our family doesn't need to do things."
: : Thanks in advance
: She is saying that this person has not really applied himself (or herself) to any serious job or vocation, and has gone through life with no real personal or professional aim in mind. The response suggests that he (or she) may not be the only one in the family with this outlook on life.
The speaker is using "knock about" in the sense described by this definition in the Oxford English Dictionary: "to move about, wander, or roam, in an irregular way; also to lead an irregular life" (colloquial). The character who is 29 admits to having followed an erratic course. "Rolling stone" is a similar expression. A rolling stone travels without direction from within and knocks into things as it goes.