"to knock someone down a notch (or two)"
to reduce the pride of someone;
to humble someone
Related words and phrases:
Two colleagues are talking ...
Colleague 1: Look at Sam. He really thinks he is the most wonderful thing that ever walked the planet.
Colleague 2: He does like to talk about himself a lot and he is so very arrogant with his "better than everyone else" attitude.
Colleague 1: Sam really needs to be knocked down a notch or two. Let's give him the Levi case. He will have no idea what to do with it. The boss will not be happy with Sam's non-performance.
Two friends are talking ...
Friend 1: High school can really suck when you are not one of the popular kids. Joe is the quarterback of the football team and always walks around like he is the king.
Friend 2: Joe is a little full of himself but then again everybody worships him.
Friend 1: Wait until he gets out in the real world and discovers that he is just another person trying to make his way in life. That will knock him down a notch.
Knocking an arrogant classmate down a notch or two, the teacher chastised him.
1) ... of his teachers, he suspects, may have wanted to knock him down a notch. The experience clearly still rankles, though he is now a professor of music ...
2) ... didn't think much of him, thought it'd be amusing to knock him down a notch or two.. at least for a moment. So I sauntered up to him ...
3) ... to this guy being an idiot and you probably try and knock him down a notch or two.
4) ... it makes one want to say something insulting just to knock him down a notch or two.
5) ... talk straight to the President of the United States, to knock him down a notch and tell him what everyone else around him is reluctant to share.
6) ... with a kind of serene arrogance that made you want to knock her down a notch or two.
7) ... being a trifle dramatic and it's their place to knock me down a notch or two.
8) ... trade him rather than bite the bullet on an expensive contract knocked them down a notch from alpha contender to merely above average.
9) Nothing gives me pleasure as much as knocking the politicians down a notch or two.
10) It's kind of cheery to see the boorish, partisan bullies knocked down a notch. To have their aggressively belligerent opinionated shown up for what it was: ...
11) ... so these Gen Y idiots can be knocked down a notch or two.
12) ... warped logic and morality humanly possible, that person needs to be knocked down a notch or two.
13) ... was a known bully; it probably did him good to be knocked down a notch or two, ...
14) ... who is a bit full of himself and needs to be "knocked down a notch", or one who is mature enough not to be humiliated.
15) ... conventional and ritualised symbol of 'the greatest' has finally been knocked down a notch.
16) ... mean Patsy had been, but it had been fun watching Lucy knocked down a notch or two nonetheless.
17) ... too used to getting everything his own way. Needs to be knocked down a notch or two!
18) I guess they just want to see those better off get knocked down a notch.
19) ... with you, Joey, as the aforementioned fool needs to be knocked down a notch.
20) ... guy that thinks his word is gospel and he needs to be knocked down a notch or ten.