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1. adjective, slang Of, indicating, or causing intense fear, anxiety, or stress. My son absolutely loves those white-knuckle roller coaster rides, but I have no stomach for them! It was a bit of a white-knuckle moment when the truck came so close to us on the highway. My father has always been a white-knuckle flyer. He can't even step foot on a plane without breaking out in a sweat.
2. verb, slang To grip something so tightly that one's knuckles turn white. I white-knuckled the tray of food, anxious not to spill anything on the first day of my new job. The woman beside me was white-knuckling her armrest for the entire flight. Sally had to white-knuckle the steering wheel to keep the truck straight on the uneven road.
3. verb, slang To endure something one finds fear- or anxiety-inducing, as by holding onto something very tightly. I've always hated the dentist. It takes all my resolve just to white-knuckle one of these routine cleanings. Taxi rides through these narrow streets can be harrowing, but you learn to white-knuckle them over time.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
white knuckle something
to survive something threatening through strained endurance, that is to say, holding on tight. The flight from New York was terrible. We had to white knuckle the entire flight.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. mod. having to do with an event that creates a lot of tension, especially an airplane flight. We came in during the storm on a white-knuckle flight from Chicago.
2. mod. of a person who is made tense by something such as flying or sailing. I’m afraid I’m a white-knuckle sailor, and you’d all be much happier if I stay on dry land.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.