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
Examples from the Web for knuckled
Whatever the outcome of a later fight might be, the fact that he had knuckled under to the agent could never be lived down.Hidden Gold|Wilder Anthony
Bitzer knuckled his forehead again, and again begged pardon.Hard Times|Charles Dickens
Her shoulders are bowed from work, and her hands are gnarled and knuckled.The New Boys at Oakdale|Morgan Scott
At the end of another twenty-four hours Mr. Port knuckled under.The Uncle Of An Angel|Thomas A. Janvier
I knuckled my eyes, the carriage was motionless, and I distinctly heard the name of the dreaded priest Santa Cruz repeated.Romantic Spain|John Augustus O'Shea
British Dictionary definitions for knuckled
Word Origin for knuckle
Word Origin and History for knuckled
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).
Medicine definitions for knuckled
Idioms and Phrases with knuckled
In addition to the idioms beginning with knuckle
- knuckle down
- knuckle under
- rap someone's knuckles