knuck·​le | \ ˈnə-kəl How to pronounce knuckle (audio) \

Definition of knuckle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the rounded prominence formed by the ends of the two adjacent bones at a joint used especially of those at the joints of the fingers
b : the joint of a knuckle
2 : a cut of meat consisting of the tarsal or carpal joint with the adjoining flesh
3 : something resembling a knuckle: such as
a(1) : one of the joining parts of a hinge through which a pin or rivet passes
b : the meeting of two surfaces at a sharp angle (as in a roof)
c : a pivotal point
4 knuckles plural : a set of metal finger rings or guards attached to a transverse piece and worn over the front of the doubled fist for use as a weapon

called also brass knuckles


knuckled; knuckling\ ˈnə-​k(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce knuckling (audio) \

Definition of knuckle (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to place the knuckles on the ground in shooting a marble

transitive verb

: to press or rub with the knuckles

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Other Words from knuckle


knuckled \ ˈnə-​kəld How to pronounce knuckled (audio) \ adjective

Examples of knuckle in a Sentence

Noun She rapped her knuckles on the table.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And true enough, knuckle-whitening gameplay and drool-inducing visuals are still typically top priority for the major videogame studios. Darryn King, Wired, "The Last of Us Part II and Its Crisis-Strewn Path to Release," 10 June 2020 Stick your finger in the soil up to your second knuckle. oregonlive, "How to grow herbs indoors to spice up your cooking," 9 June 2020 The basic idea was upgrading merchants from the old knuckle-busters to supersmart Clover, offering lots of apps that run the gamut from preventing hacking to sending messages reminding employees of their shifts. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "This Jamie Dimon protege has weathered six crises. Here is his coronavirus playbook," 24 May 2020 Some people use elbows, some swear by using a knuckle to tap the button. The Oregonian/, oregonlive, "‘Dracula sneeze,’ fist bump, knuckle tap: 3 easy ways to reduce coronavirus risk as you head back to work, school," 2 Mar. 2020 Becket Adams writing for the Washington Examiner, Dec. 30: NBC News’ Chuck Todd offered a good reminder this weekend that many in the press view people of faith as regressive knuckle-draggers. WSJ, "Notable & Quotable: Chuck Todd and Faith," 30 Dec. 2019 No knuckle-draggers, no chowder; not even any annoying pop music blaring from Pylon speakers. Adam H. Graham, Condé Nast Traveler, "Slow Skiing in Japan's Deep North," 11 Oct. 2018 While the Europeans have undeniably richer interiors and pedigrees, Detroit's latest muscle cars aren't low-tech knuckle draggers. Brent Romans, Edmunds, USA TODAY, "Camaro, Challenger, Mustang: Muscle cars that pack a performance punch," 27 Apr. 2018 Roommates can white-knuckle it through quarantine and plan to part ways once the lease is up. Jessica Roy, Los Angeles Times, "How to help your marriage survive coronavirus," 15 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Patients aren’t strapped to a hospital bed, white-knuckling it through withdrawal; instead, they are gradually weaned off the drugs outside the hospital over the course of months. Lindsay Beyerstein, The New Republic, "What Happened to Jordan Peterson?," 10 Mar. 2020 Farther back, there are bald cypress trees, root systems knuckling their way out of the mud, and rowboats passing through the bayou. Zachary Fine, The New York Review of Books, "Swampland Sublime: The Landscapes of Louisiana," 8 Feb. 2020 White-knuckling through intersections, cursing the Waze app for directing you to turn left. Dan Labbe, cleveland, "Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski always stood out during his days in Philadelphia, even when he wasn’t trying to stand out," 29 Jan. 2020 But there’s no need to white-knuckle the transition to your better self: Aspire to shimmering inner perfection at a yoga retreat in a warm-weather, seaside haven, where like-minded souls are padding down the same path. Margot Dougherty, WSJ, "Escape Winter: 5 Warm-Weather Yoga Retreats," 2 Jan. 2020 But every hunt turns into the same battle: a hook in its back, a white knuckled grip on the rod, a snapped line. Karina Elwood,, "Alligator hunting: For 2 Florida friends, a last chance to kill an elusive beast," 8 Nov. 2019 And so the hour-long drive from East Toronto out to Jordan Station became a white-knuckled sprint in slow motion, dodging winery tour buses and minivans headed to a pirate-themed amusement park on Lake Ontario’s shore. Aliza Abarbanel, Bon Appétit, "The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette Offers a Tasting Menu for the Climate-Conscious Era," 7 Nov. 2019 Oregon State had a chance to counter just over a minute later, but Jordan Choukair’s 52-yard field goal attempt knuckled to the left. oregonlive, "Oregon State’s 31-28 loss to Hawaii is simple, says Isaiah Hodgins: The defense did its part and the offense didn’t," 8 Sep. 2019 But what about snow biking, snowmobiling, and knuckle hucking? Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "The 2019 Winter X Games Starts This Week—Here’s What You Need to Know," 23 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'knuckle.' 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 knuckle


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1740, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for knuckle


Middle English knokel; akin to Middle High German knöchel knuckle

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Time Traveler for knuckle

Time Traveler

The first known use of knuckle was in the 14th century

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Statistics for knuckle

Last Updated

25 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Knuckle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for knuckle


How to pronounce knuckle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of knuckle

: any one of the thick, bony parts (called joints) in your fingers
: a piece of meat that includes a joint from the leg of an animal


knuck·​le | \ ˈnə-kəl How to pronounce knuckle (audio) \

Kids Definition of knuckle

: the rounded lump formed by the ends of two bones (as of a finger) where they come together in a joint


knuck·​le | \ ˈnək-əl How to pronounce knuckle (audio) \

Medical Definition of knuckle

1a : the rounded prominence formed by the ends of the two adjacent bones at a joint used especially of those at the joints of the fingers
b : the joint of a knuckle
2 : a sharply flexed loop of intestines incarcerated in a hernia

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More from Merriam-Webster on knuckle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with knuckle

Spanish Central: Translation of knuckle

Nglish: Translation of knuckle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of knuckle for Arabic Speakers

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