Definition of knuckle noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈnʌkl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈnʌkl//
    Hands and nails
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  1. 1 [countable] any of the joints in the fingers, especially those connecting the fingers to the rest of the hand She clenched the phone till her knuckles were white. See related entries: Hands and nails
  2. 2 (also hock especially in North American English) [uncountable, countable] a piece of meat from the lower part of an animal’s leg, especially a pig knuckle of pork More Like This Silent letters gnarled, gnash, gnat, gnaw, gnome haute cuisine, heir, (NAmE herb), honour, hors d’oeuvre, hour knack, knee, kneel, knife, knight, knit, knob, knock, knot, know, knuckle psalm, psephology, psychic, ptarmigan, pterodactyl, psychology wrangle, wrap, wreath, wreck, wrench, wrestle, wriggle, wring, write, wrong bomb, climb, crumb, doubt, lamb, limb ascent, fascinate, muscle, scene, scissors height, right, sleigh, weight align, campaign, design, foreign, malign, reign, unfeigned balmy, calm, calf, half, yolk autumn, column, condemn, damn, hymn, solemn bristle, fasten, listen, mortgage, soften, thistle, wrestle biscuit, build, circuit, disguise, guilty, league, rogue, vague yacht answer, sword, twoSee worksheet.
  3. Word OriginMiddle English knokel (originally denoting the rounded shape when a joint such as the elbow or knee is bent), from Middle Low German, Middle Dutch knökel, diminutive of knoke ‘bone’. In the mid 18th cent. the verb knuckle (down) expressed setting the knuckles down to throw the taw (large marble) in a game of marbles, hence the notion of applying oneself with concentration.Idioms (British English, informal) (of a remark, joke, etc.) concerned with sex in a way that is likely to offend people or make them feel embarrassed His act is too near the knuckle for me.
    (give somebody/get) a rap on/over/across the knuckles
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    (informal) (to give somebody/receive) strong criticism for something We got a rap over the knuckles for being late. She was rapped over the knuckles by her boss for criticizing the company in the press.
    rap somebody on/over the knuckles, rap somebody’s knuckles
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    to criticize somebody for something The company was rapped over the knuckles for broadcasting the interview.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: knuckle