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[hwahyt-nuhk-uh l, wahyt-] /ˈʰwaɪtˈnʌk əl, ˈwaɪt-/
adjective, Informal.
causing fear, apprehension, or panic:
The plane made a white-knuckle approach to the fogged-in airport.
experiencing fear, terror, or apprehension:
The white-knuckle crowd loved that director's newest horror movie.
Often, white-knuckled. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for white-knuckled
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • One of Feldman's white-knuckled hands reached for the attendant.

    Badge of Infamy Lester del Rey
  • Nothing but the straining, white-knuckled grip of his other hand modified the absolute, wilful insolence of his pose.

    The Sick-a-Bed Lady

    Eleanor Hallowell Abbott
  • He strode forward with white-knuckled fists and a very unpleasant expression on his face.

    The Mascot of Sweet Briar Gulch

    Henry Wallace Phillips
British Dictionary definitions for white-knuckled


causing or experiencing fear or anxiety: a white-knuckle ride
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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Slang definitions & phrases for white-knuckled


adjective phrase

Tense; anxious; frightened: Are you as white knuckled as I am when traveling as an airline passenger?/ Metro's countless thousands of white-knuckled motorists (1980s+)



Marked by tension, suspense, fear, etc: Invocations of a Soviet threat have become so common. He calls it ''the white-knuckle show''/ A genuine white-knuckle road (1980s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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