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 knuckle (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 knuckle (audio) \ adjective

Examples of knuckle in a Sentence

Noun She rapped her knuckles on the table.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And the road rage is palpable and knuckle-clenching as a traveling salesman tries to avoid getting run off the road and killed by a vengeful big rig driver. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 9 June 2021 Both have absolutely dominant secondary pitches, in Bieber’s case his knuckle-curve. Tony Blengino, Forbes, 11 May 2021 During the pandemic, his pork-knuckle eatery switched to delivery and takeaway., 29 May 2021 Torres hit a go-ahead, two-run double on a knuckle-curve in a three-run fourth and scored on Odor's double, then hit a two-run single on a change from Matt Foster in the fifth. Larry Fleisher, Star Tribune, 22 May 2021 With Yasmani Grandal at the plate, Davis threw a 1-1 knuckle-curve into the dirt. Lamond Pope,, 16 May 2021 This time, Pureval isn't facing Steve Chabot, a bare-knuckle competitor who's made a career out of exploiting his opponents' weaknesses in campaigns. Jason Williams, The Enquirer, 5 May 2021 Two years ago, San Antonio witnessed a bare-knuckle brawl between Mayor Ron Nirenberg and then-City Councilman Greg Brockhouse for the mayor’s seat. Joshua Fechter, San Antonio Express-News, 28 Apr. 2021 Australia knows what China’s bare-knuckle economic diplomacy looks like. The Editorial Page, WSJ, 25 Apr. 2021 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, 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, 8 Feb. 2020 White-knuckling through intersections, cursing the Waze app for directing you to turn left. Dan Labbe, cleveland, 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, 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,, 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, 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, 8 Sep. 2019 But what about snow biking, snowmobiling, and knuckle hucking? Jenny Mccoy, SELF, 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

14 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Knuckle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on knuckle

Nglish: Translation of knuckle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of knuckle for Arabic Speakers


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