knuckle

1 of 2

noun

knuck·​le ˈnə-kəl How to pronounce knuckle (audio)
1
a
: 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 adjective

knuckle

2 of 2

verb

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

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

: to press or rub with the knuckles

Example Sentences

Noun She rapped her knuckles on the table.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
My wife catches me, leading to marital strife and a white-knuckle adventure on a business trip. San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Nov. 2022 With streetlights few and far between, a busy multilane road leading into the city turns into a white-knuckle speedway at nightfall. Los Angeles Times, 11 Nov. 2022 While some patients manage to white-knuckle losing legal access to their prescription, others are buying Adderall from unregulated online or real-life dealers. WIRED, 26 Oct. 2022 Shot in one white-knuckle take, the ten-minute sequence begins elegantly enough, with Lydia commanding the space in her typical way, a handful of impressionable music students attuned to her every utterance. Seth Abramovitch, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Oct. 2022 Before buying, rap the pumpkin with your knuckle in several spots to ensure there aren’t soft, rotten spots. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 26 Oct. 2022 Push your index finger into the surface of the potting mix up to about your first knuckle. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 14 Oct. 2022 The crew had trained for nearly two years, especially for such white-knuckle moments. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Apr. 2022 The fastener connects the vehicles' front upper control arm and the steering knuckle, and there have been two reports of the fastener coming loose, according to documents filed with NHTSA. Laura Sky Brown, Car and Driver, 9 Oct. 2022
Verb
Before purchasing the pumpkin, rap on it with you knuckle in several spots to ensure there aren’t any soft spots, which indicate rot. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 11 Aug. 2021 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, orlandosentinel.com, 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 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English knokel; akin to Middle High German knöchel knuckle

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

1740, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near knuckle

Cite this Entry

“Knuckle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/knuckle. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

knuckle 1 of 2

noun

knuck·​le ˈnək-əl How to pronounce knuckle (audio)
1
: the rounded lump formed by the ends of two bones where they come together in a joint
especially : such a lump at a finger joint
2
: any of several parts (as the hock or shank or a tarsal joint) of the leg of a four-footed animal as used for food

knuckle

2 of 2

verb

knuckled; knuckling ˈnək-(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce knuckle (audio)
: to place the knuckles on the ground in shooting a marble

Medical Definition

knuckle

noun

knuck·​le ˈnək-əl How to pronounce knuckle (audio)
1
a
: 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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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