knuck·​le·​ball ˈnə-kəl-ˌbȯl How to pronounce knuckleball (audio)
: a slow baseball pitch that moves erratically and unpredictably and that is thrown with little spin by gripping the ball with the knuckles or the tips of the fingers pressed against the top
knuckleballer noun

Examples of knuckleball in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Tim Wakefield, the Red Sox knuckleball pitcher and World Series champ has died at 57. Richie Duchon, NBC News, 2 Oct. 2023 His death reverberated across the league enough that Seattle Mariners pitcher George Kirby threw a knuckleball in a game for the first time in his career in Wakefield's memory on Sunday. Tommy McArdle, Peoplemag, 2 Oct. 2023 Tim Wakefield, one of the masters of the knuckleball pitch who won two World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox, has died. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, 1 Oct. 2023 Moreover, his best pitch, the knuckleball, was a fluttery offering that drove catchers nuts, eluded their grasp and created havoc. Mike Klingaman, Baltimore Sun, 22 Aug. 2023 All told, Wilhelm threw just 99 pitches — 90% of them knuckleballs, which danced their way past flailing batters. Mike Klingaman, Baltimore Sun, 22 Aug. 2023 Former UConn righthander Devin Kirby, who throws a knuckleball, was signed by the Twins out of the California Collegiate League. Peter Abraham,, 5 Aug. 2023 Pitchers got paid for strikeouts, not knuckleballs. John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 Mar. 2023 Like the knuckleball, Ms. Yoshida has been inconsistent. Stephen Wade, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 June 2023 See More

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

1907, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of knuckleball was in 1907

Dictionary Entries Near knuckleball

Cite this Entry

“Knuckleball.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


knuck·​le·​ball ˈnək-əl-ˌbȯl How to pronounce knuckleball (audio)
: a baseball pitch gripped with the knuckles or fingertips and thrown with very little spin

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