[nuhk-uh l-hed] /ˈnʌk əlˌhɛd/
a stupid, bumbling, inept person.
(informal) fool; idiot
“stupid person,” 1890, American English, from knuckle (n.) + head (n.).
“That infernal knuckle-head at the camp ought to have reported before now,” he thought to himself, as he smoked. [Charles H. Shinn, “The Quicksands of Toro,” in “Belford’s Magazine,” vol. V, June-November 1890, New York]
From 1869 as the name of a part in a type of mechanical coupling device. Popularized in the “stupid person” sense from 1942, from character R.F. Knucklehead, star of “Don’t” posters hung up at U.S. Army Air Force training fields.
Everything Knucklehead does is wrong and ends in disaster. He endures one spectacular crash after another so that the students at the Gulf Coast Air Force Training Center may profit by his mistakes, and it looks now as if there will be no let-up in his agony. [“Life,” May 25, 1942]
A stupid person; bonehead: Movies are made by unappreciative knuckleheads
[1940s+; fr earlier knuckle, ”bone”]
noun 1. a joint forming a knuckle. 2. Machinery. a joint between two parts allowing movement in one plane only. noun 1. any of the joints of the fingers 2. (mechanical engineering) a hinged joint between two rods, often a ball and socket joint
- Knuckle pads
knuckle pads n. An atavistic congenital condition in which thick pads of skin appear over the proximal phalangeal joints.
noun, Baseball. 1. a slow pitch that moves erratically toward home plate, usually delivered by holding the ball between the thumb and the knuckles of the first joints of the first two or three fingers. modifier : a knuckleball artist noun A pitch thrown from the knuckles that moves slowly and erratically; butterfly ball: Leonard’s […]
noun, Slang. 1. a punch in the mouth with a clenched fist. noun phrase A hard blow to the mouthor face: I feed him a knuckle sandwich/ You keep that up and you’re going to get a knuckle sandwich (1973+)