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[nuhk-uh l] /ˈnʌk əl/

a joint of a finger, especially one of the articulations of a metacarpal with a phalanx.
the rounded prominence of such a joint when the finger is bent.
a joint of meat, consisting of the parts about the carpal or tarsal joint of a quadruped.
an angle or protrusion at the intersection of two members or surfaces, as in the timbers of a ship or in a roof.
a cylindrical projecting part on a hinge, through which an axis or pin passes; the joint of a hinge.
(in a wire mesh) a bend in a wire crossing another wire.
(on a chair arm) one of the ridges left at the front end by longitudinal flutes carved to accommodate the fingers.
Nautical. a pronounced edge formed by a change in the form of the shell of a hull.
verb (used with object), knuckled, knuckling.
to rub or press with the knuckles.
Marbles. to shoot (a marble) from the thumb and forefinger.
Verb phrases
knuckle down,

a joint of a finger, esp that connecting a finger to the hand
a joint of veal, pork, etc, consisting of the part of the leg below the knee joint, often used in making stews or stock
the cylindrical portion of a hinge through which the pin passes
an angle joint between two members of a structure
(informal) near the knuckle, approaching indecency
(transitive) to rub or press with the knuckles
(intransitive) to keep the knuckles on the ground while shooting a marble

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).

knuckle knuck·le (nŭk’əl)

Related Terms


Related Terms

white knuckle


Read Also:

  • Knuckle-dragger

    modifier : extra pieceworkers to turn out knockoff blouses/knockoff Coach bags bought in Chinatown noun A copy or close imitation: Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider is a contemporary knockoff (1966+)

  • Knuckle-duster

    [nuhk-uh l-duhs-ter] /ˈnʌk əlˌdʌs tər/ noun 1. . noun 1. (often pl) a metal bar fitted over the knuckles, often with holes for the fingers, for inflicting injury by a blow with the fist

  • Knuckle-dusters

    [nuhk-uh l-duhs-ter] /ˈnʌk əlˌdʌs tər/ noun 1. . noun 1. (often pl) a metal bar fitted over the knuckles, often with holes for the fingers, for inflicting injury by a blow with the fist noun Brass knuckles (1858+)

  • Knucklehead

    [nuhk-uh l-hed] /ˈnʌk əlˌhɛd/ noun, Informal. 1. a stupid, bumbling, inept person. /ˈnʌkəlˌhɛd/ noun 1. (informal) fool; idiot n. “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 […]

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