verb (used with object), knuck·led, knuck·ling.
- to apply oneself vigorously and earnestly; become serious: Just knuckle down for an hour or so and finish the work.
- Also knuckle under.to submit; yield.
Origin of knuckle
Related Words for knuckleddefer, surrender, agree, acknowledge, quit, perish, wilt, buckle, yield, bow, cease, capitulate, relinquish, cede, renounce, waive, leave, concede, submit, abandon
Examples from the Web for knuckled
Historical Examples of knuckled
Mr. Carnaby knuckled Dale's head as he asked him if he called that a switch.The Crofton Boys
The plain was well-grassed, as high as Ling's knuckled knee.The Devil's Asteroid
Manly Wade Wellman
This threat had the desired effect: Horncastle knuckled down as if by magic.My Friend Smith
Talbot Baines Reed
Her shoulders are bowed from work, and her hands are gnarled and knuckled.The New Boys at Oakdale
Bitzer knuckled his forehead again, and again begged pardon.Hard Times
Word Origin for knuckle
mid-14c., knokel "finger joint; any joint of the body, especially a knobby one; morbid lump or swelling;" common Germanic (cf. Middle Low German knökel, Middle Dutch cnockel, German knöchel), literally "little bone," a diminutive of Proto-Germanic root *knuck- "bone" (cf. German Knochen "bone).
As a verb from 1740, originally in the game of marbles. To knuckle down "apply oneself earnestly" is 1864 in American English, extended from marbles (putting a knuckle on the ground in assuming the hand position preliminary to shooting); to knuckle under "submit, give in" is first recorded 1740, supposedly from the former more general sense of "knuckle" and here meaning "knee," hence "to kneel." The face-busting knuckle-duster is from 1858 (a duster was a type of protective coat worn by workmen).
In addition to the idioms beginning with knuckle
- knuckle down
- knuckle under
- rap someone's knuckles