Earlier this week, Reed Swindle, a friend of mine explained to me the origins of this idiom. You see, when a blacksmith or a jeweler needs to make a ring, they will take their red-hot, crude beginnings of a ring and drop it on a Cone Mandrel where it can be shaped and sized. The Blacksmith will then look at the ring from the top, and if he can see “daylight” shining through, with his hammer, he will tap the ring on that spot to bring it into proper shape. When he can see no more daylight, he knows the ring is perfectly formed.
So you see, we may have had it all wrong. Having the “daylights beaten out of something” isn’t really about crushing blows intended to break and destroy us, but rather controlled, purposeful blows intended to shape and conform us into perfection.
In view of the above explanation, I hope you’ll understand when I say, “I hope you have the daylight beaten out of you today!”