adjective or adverb

bare-knuck·​le ˈber-ˈnə-kəl How to pronounce bare-knuckle (audio)
variants or less commonly bare-knuckled or bare-knuckles
: not using boxing gloves
champion bare-knuckle prizefighter of EnglandDennis Craig
when men fought bare-knuckle
: having a fierce unrelenting character
bare-knuckle politics

Examples of bare-knuckle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Kid is first seen in an ape mask fighting (and losing) bare-knuckle battles in an underground arena run by a sleazy South African (Sharlto Copley). Ty Burr, Washington Post, 4 Apr. 2024 Critics accuse Yass of bankrolling an army of lobbyists and orchestrating a bare-knuckle pressure campaign to protect TikTok — including by leveraging his nascent relationship with former President Donald Trump. Kalhan Rosenblatt, NBC News, 12 Mar. 2024 As the primary approaches, Martinez has unveiled the bare-knuckle tactics common in his political base of Southeast L.A. County. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, 27 Feb. 2024 To replace him, Mr. Morris facilitated the hiring of the veteran Washington scandal lawyer Abbe Lowell, who is known for bare-knuckle tactics more akin to what Mr. Morris was advocating. Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times, 16 Feb. 2024 Mullica said such bare-knuckle tactics aren’t a way to win votes, much less friends, in the building. Nick Coltrain, The Denver Post, 13 Jan. 2024 With Triller, the only part that I was really actively involved in and still am is the Fight Club and bare-knuckle boxing, which is now the fastest growing combat sport. Tatiana Siegel, Variety, 31 Jan. 2024 The brick building once housed mobsters and bare-knuckle boxers. Alex Vadukul, New York Times, 26 Dec. 2023 For years, the Wagner group has protected the leadership of the Central African Republic with bare-knuckle security enforcement, weaponry and propaganda campaigns. Elian Peltier Jim Huylebroek, New York Times, 26 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bare-knuckle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1882, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bare-knuckle was in 1882

Dictionary Entries Near bare-knuckle

Cite this Entry

“Bare-knuckle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

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