1625, of uncertain origin. Perhaps from Arabic ضَرَبَ (ḍaraba, “to beat, to hit”), or perhaps originally from a dialectal word (Kent) drab, variant of drop, dryp, drib (“to beat”), from Middle English drepen (preterit drop, drap, drape “to strike, kill”) from Old English drepan (“to strike”), from Proto-Germanic *drepaną (“to beat, bump, strike, slay”), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰreb- (“to strike, crush, kill”). Akin to Old Frisian drop (“a blow, beat”), Old High German treffan (“to hit”), Old Norse drepa (“to strike, slay, kill”). Compare also dub. More at drape.
- To beat (someone or something) with a stick.
- To defeat someone soundly; to annihilate or crush.
- To forcefully teach something.
- To criticize harshly; to excoriate.