white-knuck·​le ˈ(h)wīt-ˈnə-kəl How to pronounce white-knuckle (audio)
variants or less commonly white-knuckled
: marked by, causing, or experiencing tense nervousness
a white-knuckle ride on a roller coaster
a white-knuckle passenger
white-knuckler noun
plural white-knucklers
The 65-mile speedway connecting Vancouver and the mountain town of Whistler was a white-knuckler for decades. Christian DeBenedetti

Examples of white-knuckle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Zemeckis, meanwhile, balances the script's bigger questions with white-knuckle awe. Randall Colburn, EW.com, 9 Nov. 2023 But the Kings held on despite turning the blowout into a white-knuckle finish. Chris Biderman, Sacramento Bee, 28 Jan. 2024 The white-knuckle ride has carried him from Killdeer, N.D., population 913, to Okeechobee, Fla.; from Fort Madison, home of the Iowa State Penitentiary, to Parowan, Utah; from Havre, Montana, known for Big Bud 747, the world’s largest farm tractor, to Grand Island, Neb. And Southaven, Miss. Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Jan. 2024 Rising to prominence in the Seventies, Friedkin came to specialize in gritty, white-knuckle thrillers, often shot through with a healthy dose of documentary-style realism. Tomás Mier, Rolling Stone, 7 Aug. 2023 Your fun night out is suddenly about to become a wild, white-knuckle ride into the abyss. Pitchfork, 11 Dec. 2023 Vaillant weaves together the story of the tar sands industry, the impacts of climate change and the white-knuckle evacuation of the town into a frightening wake-up call of our new reality concerning wildfires. Bridget Alex, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Dec. 2023 Travel booking platform Omio has compiled a guide to the white-knuckle sport and its magical apres scene for those who want to be eco and wallet-conscious this year. Rebecca Ann Hughes, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 The union offered them hourly door-knocking work in battleground states—and helped pull off white-knuckle wins in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Georgia (though Local 11, which covers Arizona and Southern California, later seemed to regret their exertions on behalf of now Senator Kyrsten Sinema). E. Tammy Kim, The New Yorker, 23 Oct. 2023 See More

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

1872, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of white-knuckle was in 1872

Dictionary Entries Near white-knuckle

Cite this Entry

“White-knuckle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/white-knuckle. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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