knuckle down


knuckled down; knuckling down; knuckles down

intransitive verb

: to apply oneself earnestly

Examples of knuckle down in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Biden administration appears to be playing at war rather than knuckling down and winning it. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, 11 Jan. 2024 Instead, the England centre half has knuckled down and waited for his opportunity. Liam Canning, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 Following the expansion of his stadium tour Down Under, the Weeknd’s catalog knuckles down on the ARIA Chart. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 8 Sep. 2023 Chuck’s law partner, Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian), rebuffs Jimmy’s efforts to join the firm while Chuck offers Jimmy the well-meaning but patronizing advice to knuckle down, know his limitations and be patient. James Poniewozik, New York Times, 16 Aug. 2022 But as the United Nations conference enters its second week and negotiators from 197 countries knuckle down to finalize a new agreement to tackle global warming, attendees were sharply divided over how much progress is being made. New York Times, 8 Nov. 2021 Several of Kremer’s starts this year have featured bumpy first innings that required him to knuckle down and use his stuff to get hitters out efficiently. Jon Meoli,, 30 June 2021 Leaders have little recourse but to tell people to knuckle down. Patrick Donahue,, 14 Oct. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'knuckle down.' 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

circa 1864, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of knuckle down was circa 1864

Dictionary Entries Near knuckle down

Cite this Entry

“Knuckle down.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

knuckle down

: to apply oneself in an earnest manner

More from Merriam-Webster on knuckle down

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!