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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Fun With Words

Sometimes a phrase we use all the time will suddenly catch my ear and leaves me wondering where it came from and why.
Knuckle Under
this is a fairly common expression
A dictionary from 1740 defines knuckle as 
knuckle or knuckle down
to stoop, bend, yield, comply with or submit to.
The allusion appears to be with the subservient gesture of stooping with one's knuckles low down or on the ground.
Somehow when I hear the expression 'knuckle under' I get a mental picture of the great apes rolling along with their knuckles on the ground.

14 comments:

  1. My brothers used to 'knuckle' each other (and occasionally me. A painful experience.

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  2. Hmmm, I relate it to being beaten down "to stoop, bend, yield, comply with or submit to" as one does in an abusive relationship or when being beaten like in a gangster movie. I know personally about the first part but not the second.

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  3. I had no idea that term was that old. Also, I always thought Knuckle Under had a very different meaning. I always associated that as 'To push forward and get through' or 'You'll just have to knuckle under.'

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    Replies
    1. I always thought the expression 'buckle down' meant to push forward.

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    2. Yes, to me, buckle down always meant to get on with it.

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  4. I concur with Robert. (and getting busy finishing a project or job)

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  5. I didn't realize the term was that old either, knuckle under to me is as you described to give in and go along with someone else's way.

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  6. I haven't heard this expression before; I've heard "buckle down" which means to get to the job at hand, but not "knuckle under"!!

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  7. I'd never given much thought to where it came from, but it is definitely subservient.

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  8. Yep, knuckle under is a familiar expression to me. However, when I knuckle down, I can push forward.

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  9. knuckle under to me is as you described to give in and go along with someone else's way.


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  10. Gosh back to 1740 ... amazing.

    All the best Jan

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