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1. To anchor or fasten something or someone in place. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "buckle" and "down." Did you buckle the bikes down securely? Can you please buckle down the baby in her highchair?
2. To put forth maximum effort toward something, especially after not having done so. If you want to get a passing grade this semester, you'll really need to buckle down and study hard.
To anchor or fasten oneself or another in place with a seatbelt, as in a vehicle. A noun or pronoun can be used between "buckle" and "in." Can you buckle the baby in while I put our bags in the trunk? This car is not moving until everyone is buckled in!
1. To collapse or fall apart as a result of more weight than can be supported, as of a structure or object. Three people sitting on the chair at the same time caused it to buckle under. That rickety old roof buckled under the weight of the snow.
2. To succumb to some form or cause of pressure or stress. Karen buckled under the stress of being student council president and resigned from her post.
1. To anchor or fasten something or someone in place. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "buckle" and "up." Are the bikes securely buckled up? Can you please buckle the baby up in her highchair?
2. To anchor or fasten oneself or another in place with a seatbelt, as in a vehicle. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "buckle" and "up." Can you buckle the baby up while I put our bags in the trunk? This car is not moving until everyone is buckled up!
3. To bend at the waist. She keeps buckling up and clutching her stomach, so the pain must be pretty bad—let's take her to the doctor.
4. slang Prepare for what is about to happen, such as danger, excitement, trouble, etc. The boss is in a terrible mood today, so buckle up! Buckle up, folks. This game is going down to the wire!
To begin to work on something in a determined matter. If you want to get a passing grade this semester, you'll really need to knuckle down and study hard.
make buckle and tongue meet
To have enough money to survive. Although the exact image referred to in this phrase is unclear, it means the same as "make ends meet." Now that I have a well-paying job, I can finally make buckle and tongue meet.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
buckle down (to something)
to settle down to something; to begin to work seriously at something. If you don't buckle down to your job, you'll be fired. You had better buckle down and get busy.
buckle someone in
to attach someone securely with a vehicle's seat belts. (This includes airplane seat belts.) Don't forget to buckle the children in. Did you buckle in the children?
buckle someone or something down
to attach someone or something down with straps that buckle together. They stopped to buckle the load down again. Did you buckle down the kids?
buckle someone or something up
to attach someone or something securely with straps that buckle together. (This emphasizes the completeness and secureness of the act.) Buckle the children up before we leave. Buckle up your shoes.
1. Lit. [for something] to collapse. With heavy trucks on it, the bridge buckled under. The table buckled under.
2. Fig. [for someone] to collapse or give in under the burden of heavy demands or great anxiety. With so much to worry about, she buckled under. I was afraid she would buckle under.
buckle under something
to collapse under or from the weight of something. The bridge buckled under the weight of the truck and collapsed. The table finally buckled under.
buckle upand belt up
to buckle one's seat belt, as in a car or plane. Please buckle up so our flight can begin. I wish you would obey the law and belt up.
knuckle down (to something)
Fig. to get busy doing something. I want you to knuckle down to your work and stop worrying about the past. Come on. Knuckle down. Get busy.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Set to work, apply oneself with determination, as in All right, we'll buckle down now and study for exams. Originating about 1700 as buckle to, the expression gained currency with the football song "Buckle-Down, Winsocki" (from the Broadway musical comedy Best Foot Forward, 1941). [Mid-1800s]
Give way, collapse owing to stress, as in One more heavy snowfall and the roof may buckle under, or She buckled under the strain of two jobs. [Late 1500s]
Fasten a seat belt, as in All the children must learn to buckle up as soon as they get in a car. This term came into wide use in the second half of the 1900s, when seat belts became mandatory automobile equipment. Earlier they had been used mainly in airplanes.
1. Apply oneself seriously to some task or goal, as in The professor insisted that we knuckle down and get our papers in by Friday. Both this term and the rhyming synonym buckle down date from the 1860s, but the precise allusion in either is unclear.
2. See knuckle under.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To secure something or someone with straps that fasten together with buckles: Don't forget to buckle down the top of the suitcase before we pack it into the car. We took off our backpacks and buckled them down on the roof of the truck.
2. To apply oneself and start working seriously at something: I've wasted a lot of time, and now I have to buckle down and finish my homework.
1. To bend, crumple or collapse under some great weight or pressure: The bridge supports were weakened by rust and buckled under the weight of the heavy truck. The metal chair I was sitting on suddenly buckled under, and I fell to the ground.
2. To succumb to or be adversely affected by some pressure: Some schools have buckled under the strain of having too many new students. I had fought very hard against their ideas but finally buckled under to them.
1. To secure something or someone with straps that fasten together with buckles: Buckle up your shoes. We buckled the baby up in its car seat.
2. To fasten one's seat belt: The first thing I did when I got on the plane was to buckle up.
3. To bend or fold in half at the middle: Everyone buckled up with laughter when they heard my jokes.
To apply oneself earnestly to a task: We've been relaxing too long—it's time for us to knuckle down and finish this work.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Apply yourself to the job at hand. The phrase comes from the game of marbles, one of the once-popular children's street games. Players shot their “shooter” marble by clenching the marble in a fist with knuckles touching the ground, then launching it with a flick of the thumb. When it was a player's turn and his attention was elsewhere, he was reminded, “Okay, knuckle down.” A similar phrase, “buckle down” most likely came from the idea of tightening your belt before performing an arduous task.
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price