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 knucklesdefer, surrender, agree, acknowledge, quit, perish, wilt, buckle, yield, bow, cease, capitulate, relinquish, cede, renounce, waive, leave, concede, submit, abandon
Examples from the Web for knuckles
Contemporary Examples of knuckles
The soldier launches into a comical strut and pretends to polish his guard box with his knuckles.Hunt To Identify Pirouetting 'Bearskin' Guardsman Who Shamed Army
September 3, 2014
Ray seemed to understand immediately and said “Yeah,” offering his knuckles.The Stacks: The Judas Priest Teen Suicide Trial
June 28, 2014
The left raps your knuckles, and the right cuts off your hand and serves it to you for lunch.What ‘60 Minutes’ Must Do About the Benghazi Disaster
November 12, 2013
And he wants the U.S. and its allies to maintain—if not strengthen—sanctions until Tehran knuckles under to that demand.Iran Hawks’ Definition of Successful Nuclear Diplomacy Is Impossible
November 11, 2013
Maybe that was a gaffe, maybe a much-deserved rap on the Egyptian knuckles.Welcome to the Free World, President Morsi
September 25, 2012
Historical Examples of knuckles
Whereupon they shook hands with a grip that whitened their knuckles.Her Father's Daughter
Kingozi's heart bounded, and his knuckles whitened as he gripped his rifle.The Leopard Woman
Stewart Edward White
The woman danced opposite to him, this way and that, with her knuckles on her hips.Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates
Ninian leant forward and tapped the table with his knuckles.Changing Winds
St. John G. Ervine
Boil one or two knuckles of veal, one or two shins of beef, and three pounds of beef, in as much water only as will cover them.
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