knuck·le | \ ˈnə-kəl \

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

(2) : knuckle joint

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 \

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 \ adjective

Examples of knuckle in a Sentence


She rapped her knuckles on the table.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Hogan said the woman scratched him, threw his GPS device, broke his sunglasses and bit his knuckles, according to court records obtained by the News-Leader. Kaitlyn Schwers, kansascity, "Missouri police chief arrested for assault. Wife says he tried to remove her jewelry, reports say," 19 June 2018 Subsequent pathology examinations found wounds on her neck, scalp and left eye along with abrasions to her nose, chin, abdomen, knees, arms and knuckles, and the death was reclassified as a homicide, prosecutors said. George Houde,, "Comments that suburban woman had made about husband who now is accused of killing her can be used at trial: judge," 31 May 2018 Knievel, who died in 2007 at age 69, came up short on his attempt at jumping the fountain, hitting the knuckle just before the landing ramp and losing control. CBS News, "Travis Pastrana nails Evel Knievel's three legendary jumps in Las Vegas," 9 July 2018 Using a blue shade of M.A.C.’s Pro Longwear Fluideline Gel Liner, the makeup artists painted them on wrists, fingers and across knuckles. Samantha Tse, Allure, "The Giambattista Valli Couture Show Sent Models Down the Runway With Next-Level "Glass Skin"," 9 July 2018 He was taken to the hospital where his finger was amputated to the first knuckle. Diana Lambert, sacbee, "Sacramento State had lead and chemical safety problems. Does CSU have systemwide issues? | The Sacramento Bee," 22 Apr. 2018 Still, when Isabel’s onscreen, Soldado at least seems alive with something other than bare-knuckle testosterone. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Sicario: Day of the Soldado Returns to the Border," 28 June 2018 Air Hands Air hands have square palms and long fingers and are often boney, with protruding knuckles and spindly fingers. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "A Beginner's Guide to Reading Palms," 4 June 2018 Now beef femurs, neck bones and knuckles spend 20 hours in a pot, riddled by fennel and coriander seeds. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, "At Em, the Noodle Soup Anchors a Menu (and a Marriage)," 17 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Griezmann's shot from about 25 yards away knuckled away from Muslera at the last moment and the ball went off his hands and into the goal in the 61st minute. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "Uruguay goalie's blunder gifts a goal to France at World Cup," 6 July 2018 State after state punted on the opportunity to become the first to regulate before Wyoming, well, knuckled up. Josh Peter, USA TODAY, "Fight club: Legalized bare-knuckle boxing may be next big show in ring," 4 June 2018 As if love’s knuckled fist had slipped into a white glove, for five months hardly a cross word passed between us. Hartford Courant,, "A Time To Die And Be Reborn: Poems By Priscilla Wear Ellsworth," 19 Apr. 2018 Their relationship began last May with a white-knuckled, jaw-clenching, six-Mississippi handshake in Brussels. Ashley Parker,, "'Playful dominance': The touchy-feely relationship between Trump and Macron," 25 Apr. 2018 Also, despite what your grandmother says, there isn't any conclusive evidence on risk of arthritis tied to knuckle cracking. Ashley May, USA TODAY, "Why do knuckles crack? The answer might be in a mathematical equation," 30 Mar. 2018 So far, Green has said nothing so bare-knuckled, at least in public. George Russell, Fox News, "Trump Administration moves to get tougher on sexual abuse by humanitarian workers," 9 Mar. 2018 Outside his window, the azure waters of the Pacific knuckled on the white sands of Malibu. Jeff Stein, Newsweek, "Did 'The Post' Get It Wrong? How the Cover-Up of a Green Beret Murder Led to the Pentagon Papers," 31 Jan. 2018 The prosecutors tore up the language and the law trying to prove that the senator was knuckling the guy who was eagerly purchasing his influence with both hands. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "Where Is the Integrity?," 13 Sep. 2017

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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Dictionary Entries near knuckle







knuckle down

Statistics for knuckle

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for knuckle

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

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More Definitions for knuckle



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 \

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 \

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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Comments on knuckle

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the setting in which something occurs

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