knee·​cap | \ ˈnē-ˌkap How to pronounce kneecap (audio) \
plural kneecaps

Definition of kneecap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a thick flat triangular movable bone that forms the anterior point of the knee and protects the front of the joint : patella … [Richard] Steadman did arthroscopic surgery on both knees, taking out cartilage, and adjusting synovial plica, the bands of thickened tissue that line the joint behind the kneecaps— William Oscar Johnson Many people who play basketball, volleyball, or soccer are all too familiar with patellar tendinitis, an inflammation of the large tendon connecting the kneecap to the upper tibia.— Andrew Weil The stifle joint of a horse corresponds to the human knee. It has a patella, or kneecap, at the front of the joint.— Robert M. Miller


kneecapped; kneecapping; kneecaps

Definition of kneecap (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to shoot or otherwise maim or cripple the knee of (someone) He was shot in both knees, deliberately maimed—"kneecapped," in local parlance.— Francis X. Clines … punishing petty crooks and unruly juveniles by kneecapping them, sometimes with bullets, sometimes with a … power drill. The degree of crippling one receives is supposed to be a reflection of the gravity of one's crime.— Bill Barich often used figuratively … hearing from people who grasp their brows in dire concern over whether the President is now too damaged to carry on—this from people who have been doing their … best to kneecap the man for years.— Molly IvinsThis 66-yard scoring drive Smith engineered late in the first half … basically kneecapped the home team.— Austin MurphyThe decision to liquidate $25 million worth of the band's Live Nation stock last year nearly kneecapped the company …— Steve Kandell

Examples of kneecap in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Zylstra broke his left kneecap and is out for the season, while Lions coach Dan Campbell said Monday there is a possibility Cabinda could return for the Lions' Jan. 9 season finale against the Green Bay Packers. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, 29 Dec. 2021 In May, he was injured on the job site when a piece of sheet metal slipped and caught him on the kneecap. Kaiser Health News, oregonlive, 27 Nov. 2021 Polish luge officials said a malfunction at the sliding track built for this winter’s Beijing Olympics in Yanquig, China, caused one of its top athletes, Mateusz Sochowicz, to crash during a training run and sustain a fractured kneecap., 8 Nov. 2021 Had an even better 2019 (taking second in MVP voting) but fouled a ball off his kneecap in September and missed the wild-card game. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7 July 2021 It's been four games since Albies returned from fouling a ball off his kneecap last week in Los Angeles and had to be carried off the field. George Henry, ajc, 8 Sep. 2021 His right kneecap was fractured, which prematurely ended his 2019 season. Mike Hart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8 Oct. 2021 Becton, the No. 11 overall pick last year, will be out for what Saleh said is a minimum of 4-6 weeks with a dislocated right kneecap., 13 Sep. 2021 Becton, the No. 11 overall pick last year, will be out for what Saleh said is a minimum of four weeks with a dislocated right kneecap. Dennis Waszak Jr.,, 13 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'kneecap.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of kneecap


1833, in the meaning defined above


1974, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for kneecap

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The first known use of kneecap was in 1833

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Dictionary Entries Near kneecap

knee buckle



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Statistics for kneecap

Last Updated

20 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Kneecap.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for kneecap



English Language Learners Definition of kneecap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a flat bone on the front of your knee



English Language Learners Definition of kneecap (Entry 2 of 2)

: to shoot or break the knee of (someone) as a form of attack or punishment


knee·​cap | \ ˈnē-ˌkap How to pronounce kneecap (audio) \

Kids Definition of kneecap

: a thick flat movable bone forming the front part of the knee


knee·​cap | \ ˈnē-ˌkap How to pronounce kneecap (audio) \

Medical Definition of kneecap

More from Merriam-Webster on kneecap

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for kneecap

Nglish: Translation of kneecap for Spanish Speakers


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