1. [late 18C–mid-19C] a pickpocket; thus go on the knuckle v., to work as a pickpocket; knucklejill n., a female pickpocket [Grose 1796 et seq. suggests ‘a superior kind of pickpockets’].
2. [mid-19C+] (US) in pl., a knuckleduster n. (1), ‘brass knuckles’.
3. [1930+] a fight, violence; thus knuckle-boy, knuckleman, n., a fighter; knuckle-work n., fighting.
4. [1990s+] (US drugs) a wrapper of heroin [the knuckle-like bulge of the wrapped drug].
[1970s+] (US) a punch in the mouth.
2. the fists.
1. a fool, a peasant.
2. a thug; thus knuckle-dragging adj., violent.
see separate entry.
see separate entries.
[1970s+] (US) a fist-fight; in phr. take someone dancing down at knuckle junction, to administer a beating.
[1940s] a blow with the fist.
[1900s] (US) a boxer.
[1950s+] (orig. US) a blow from a fist, esp. to the mouth.
[mid-19C] (US) a punch in the mouth.
[1910s] (US prison) coded communication between prisoners achieved by rapping their knuckles on their cell walls.
[1940s] a punch in the face or mouth.
[mid-19C–1930s] virtually penniless.
[1940s+] (Aus.) to have a fist-fight.
see on the knocker under knocker n.1