Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Knuckle Under (To).

 Knuckle-duster.Kobold. 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
 
Knuckle Under (To).
 
To kneel for pardon. Knuckle here means the knee, and we still say a “knuckle of veal or mutton,” meaning the thin end of the leg near the joint. Dr. Ogilvie tells us there was an old custom of striking the under side of a table with the knuckles when defeated in an argument; and Dr. Johnson, following Bailey, says the same thing.   1
 


 Knuckle-duster.Kobold. 

 
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