Knuckle under


      • submit or give in
        To yield to pressure or authority, especially unwillingly

      • surrender
        To acknowledge defeat or give up in a competition or argument

    Examples of Knuckle under

    • The CEO demanded that the sales team knuckle under and lower their prices to compete with the lower-priced products from our competitors.

      In this example, the idiom "knuckle under" is used metaphorically to describe the situation where the sales team is being forced to accept lower prices for their products. It implies that the sales team is being forced to yield or submit to the CEO's demands.

    • The teacher gave the students an impossible assignment, but instead of resisting or refusing, they knuckled under and completed it anyway.

      In this example, the students are initially reluctant or resistant to the teacher's demand, but they ultimately give in and comply. It suggests that the students recognized the futility of resistance and would rather expend the effort to complete the assignment than face the consequences of defiance.

    • The team's morale was low after a string of losses, but they knuckled under and rallied to win the next game.

      In this example, the team is initially demoralized and hesitant to come out victorious, but they draw on their inner strength and determination to overcome their struggles. It implies that the team succumbed to the pressure and ultimately triumphed.

    • The manager demanded that the employees work overtime to finish the project, and although they initially protested, they finally knuckled under and agreed to the demands.

      In this example, the employees initially express reluctance or resistance to the manager's demands, but they eventually relent and agree to work overtime. It suggests that the employees recognized the importance or urgency of the project and agreed to make the necessary sacrifices.

    • Sarah refused to do the chores for weeks, but when her parents threatened to ground her, she finally knuckled under and completed her tasks without complaint.

      This example shows how someone reluctantly gives in to a demand or request out of necessity or fear of consequences. 'Knuckle under' is a phrasal verb that suggests submission or yielding, similar to 'give in' or 'cave in'. In this case, Sarah's threat of punishment forced her to accept her parents' expectations and complete the chores.

    • The CEO of the company demanded that all employees work overtime for the next week, but after intense negotiations, the union representatives managed to persuade him to relent and allow a more flexible schedule. The workers were visibly relieved, as they had been dreading the prospect of additional work hours.

      This example highlights the use of 'knuckle under' in a professional setting, where terms and conditions are negotiated between management and labor. It illustrates how a group can resist pressure and persuade authority figures to make concessions. 'Knuckle under' implies that the CEO would have preferred the employees to conform unquestioningly, but he ultimately relented due to external factors.

    • The tight deadline for the project left the team anxious and exhausted, but they didn't give up or knuckle under. Instead, they pulled out all the stops and completed the task on time, earning widespread praise and admiration from their clients.

      This example showcases the use of 'knuckle under' in the context of intense work pressures, where the task is more demanding than usual. In this case, the team is commended for their determination and resilience, as they managed to meet the deadline without succumbing to the stress. The phrase suggests that giving in to pressure or exhaustion is a weaker response, while persisting and succeeding is a stronger one.

    • The small business owner faced a series of unexpected problems that threatened to derail his enterprise, but he refused to knuckle under and instead took a series of bold decisions that turned the fortunes of the business around.

      This example demonstrates how 'knuckle under' can be applied to unexpected challenges or setbacks in business or other ventures. It implies that the owner could have given up in the face of adversity, but instead, he showed resilience and took decisive action to overcome the obstacles. The phrase suggests that giving in to problems is a weaker response, while overcoming them is a stronger one.


    The idiom "knuckle under" is used to describe the act of submitting or giving in to pressure, authority, or defeat. It can be used in various situations, such as yielding to someone's demands or acknowledging defeat in a competition or argument.

    Origin of "Knuckle under"

    The origin of the idiom "knuckle under" can be traced back to the literal act of bending one's knuckles in submission. The term "knuckle" refers to the joints of the fingers, and "under" signifies the act of being below or subordinate to something. The phrase likely originated from physical gestures of submission or surrender, where individuals would physically bend their knuckles as a sign of yielding to someone else's authority or power.

    Over time, the literal gesture evolved into a figurative expression, and "knuckle under" came to be used in a metaphorical sense to describe yielding or surrendering in various contexts. Today, the idiom is commonly used in both informal and formal language to convey the idea of giving in to pressure or acknowledging defeat.