What does it mean to knuckle down?
The knuckle is part of the back of the hands – the lumps at the base of the fingers.
All apes, such as the chimpanzee, gorilla and orangutan, walk on their knuckles. An ape is a primate mammal without a tail.
To knuckle down means to work extremely hard on a specific task. For example, a teacher might say to a student, ‘you need to knuckle down and finish the assignment.’
It originated from the game of marbles, when players put their knuckles on the ground when they are ready to shoot a marble towards an opponent’s marble to knock it out of the circle area. Therefore, when someone puts their knuckles down, they are ready to start – such as ready to start work.
Apes always have their ‘knuckles down’ – so, perhaps they are always ready to start work or play!
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM