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To 'put the boot in' is British slang to kick someone, especially to give a vicious kicking to a helpless victim. The image is not of a karate kick, but kicking someone who has already been knocked to the ground.

It is also used metaphorically, to mean kicking a person when they're down, i.e., to make a bad situation worse.

This is the more modern version of the now mostly obsolete 'put the boots to'.

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