Knuckle Under

Previous Page

Knuckle Under : Phrases


To give way; submit; admit defeat.


The Italian and German riders knuckled under the pressure from Lance Armstrong during the final stages of the Tour de France.


This expression goes back to the late 17th century tavern habit of knocking the underside of the table when beaten in an argument - they put their knuckles under.

Alternative: Although the word knuckle now refers to the finger-joint, it used to be applied to other joints such as the knee. To knuckle under meant to bend the knee in respect or submission.

Phrases Index

From Knuckle Under to HOME PAGE