(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.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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