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 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|Tom Sykes|September 3, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Ray seemed to understand immediately and said “Yeah,” offering his knuckles.
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|Lloyd Grove|November 12, 2013|DAILY BEAST
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|Peter Beinart|November 11, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Maybe that was a gaffe, maybe a much-deserved rap on the Egyptian knuckles.
"Let us give her a rap over the knuckles, and disgust her with the business," said the brothers Cointet.Eve and David|Honore de Balzac
Presently Mr. Carlyle appeared and she knocked at the window with her knuckles.East Lynne|Mrs. Henry Wood
Rubbing his knuckles and feeling better than he had felt for days, he started back to the radar bridge.Danger in Deep Space|Carey Rockwell
Jacob's eyes flashed; he pressed the knuckles of one large hand hard upon the desk, and firmly shut his teeth.Fashion and Famine|Ann S. Stephens
So there's no use knicking my knuckles any more on this portable throne?Wings of the Wind|Credo Harris
British Dictionary definitions for knuckles
Word Origin for knuckle
Word Origin and History for knuckles
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 knuckles
Idioms and Phrases with knuckles
In addition to the idioms beginning with knuckle
- knuckle down
- knuckle under
- rap someone's knuckles