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[nuhk-uh l-bohn] /ˈnʌk əlˌboʊn/
(in humans) any of the bones forming a knuckle of a finger.
(in quadrupeds) a bone homologous with a wrist, ankle, or finger bone of humans, or its knobbed end.
Origin of knucklebone
late Middle English
late Middle English word dating back to 1400-50; See origin at knuckle, bone Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for knucklebones
Historical Examples
  • No kneeling figures, no Nellie Underwood, no Cyril, no knucklebones.

    An Australian Lassie Lilian Turner
  • The draught-men employed were knucklebones of sheep, some blackened.

    Pabo, The Priest Sabine Baring-Gould
  • Turning to his men, with his hand he brushed the knucklebones off the board.

    Pabo, The Priest Sabine Baring-Gould
  • They all seemed very merry over a game, much like "knucklebones," which they were playing with shells.

    A Modern Buccaneer Rolf Boldrewood
  • We talk of dignity and propriety, and we are like so many children playing with knucklebones in a giant's scullery.

    The Return Walter de la Mare
  • This last is an exceedingly primitive and ancient game—it must date almost as far back as jackstones or knucklebones.

    War in the Garden of Eden

    Kermit Roosevelt
  • I'm an extraordinar good hand at the knucklebones, but it's a poor piece of business playing with naebody to admire ye.

    David Balfour, Second Part Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The game played with small stones is similar to that in vogue among schoolboys, and known by the name of ‘knucklebones.’

    At Home with the Patagonians George Chaworth Musters
  • Modern “knucklebones” consist of six points, or knobs, proceeding from a common base, and are usually of metal.

British Dictionary definitions for knucklebones


(functioning as sing) a less common name for jacks


any bone forming part of a knuckle or knuckle joint
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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knucklebones in Medicine

knucklebone knuck·le·bone (nŭk'əl-bōn')
A knobbed bone, as of a knuckle or joint.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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