[nuhk-uh l-bohn]
  1. (in humans) any of the bones forming a knuckle of a finger.
  2. (in quadrupeds) a bone homologous with a wrist, ankle, or finger bone of humans, or its knobbed end.

Origin of knucklebone

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at knuckle, bone Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for knucklebones

Historical Examples of knucklebones

  • No kneeling figures, no Nellie Underwood, no Cyril, no knucklebones.

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for knucklebones


  1. (functioning as singular) a less common name for jacks


  1. 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

knucklebones in Medicine


  1. 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.