From Middle English knokel (“finger joint”), not attested in Old English, likely from Proto-Germanic *knukilaz (“knuckle, knot, bump”), as *knukô (“bone, joint”) + *-ilaz (diminutive suffix). Cognate with Dutch knokkel (“knuckle”), Low German Knökel (“knuckle”), German Knöchel (“ankle, knuckle”), Old Norse knykill.
knuckle (plural knuckles)
- Any of the joints between the phalanges of the fingers.
- (by extension) A mechanical joint.
- A cut of meat.
- (sports, billiards, snooker, pool) The curved part of the cushion at the entrance to the pockets on a cue sports table.
- The kneejoint of a quadruped, especially of a calf; formerly used of the kneejoint of a human being.
- With weary knuckles on thy brim she kneeled sadly down.
- (obsolete) The joint of a plant.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Francis Bacon to this entry?)
- (shipbuilding) A convex portion of a vessel's figure where a sudden change of shape occurs, as in a canal boat, where a nearly vertical side joins a nearly flat bottom.
- A contrivance, usually of brass or iron, and furnished with points, worn to protect the hand, to add force to a blow, and to disfigure the person struck; a knuckle duster.
- brass knuckles