Definition of knee in English:

knee

Line breaks: knee
Pronunciation: /niː
 
/

noun

  • 1The joint between the thigh and the lower leg in humans.
    More example sentences
    • He will be out for the season after having an operation on his knee to repair cruciate ligaments.
    • He rested on the floor on his hands and knees complaining of severe abdominal pain.
    • For instance, be sure you can extend and flex your injured knee as fully as the other one.
  • 1.1The joint in other animals that corresponds or is analogous to the human knee.
    More example sentences
    • There is yet a further problem for the evolutionist in that the human knee is distinctly different from animal knees.
    • The downward-curving bill of the bird, the small head, and the swollen knees are all accurate depictions of a wader.
    • The elephant went on to its knees and tried to roll on top of Fay, repeatedly trying to stab him with her tusks.
  • 1.2The upper surface of someone’s thigh when they are sitting; a person’s lap: they were eating their suppers on their knees
    More example sentences
    • The last time I saw Donald was in Labour's Scottish HQ with his constituency secretary, a pile of local constituency correspondence on his knee.
    • I can't bear eating off my knees. I need a table.
    • His eyes continually glanced from the girl sitting opposite him to a notebook that lay on his knees.
  • 1.3The part of a garment covering the knee.
    More example sentences
    • I fell twice on the way home, soaking my mittens and the knees of my leggings.
    • On the evening of her disappearance, she was wearing a pink sleeveless top, blue jeans with holes in the knees, a khaki duffel coat and black trainers.
    • Faulkner wore jeans faded at the knees, a broad hat, and photochromic sunglasses.
  • 2An angled piece of wood or metal frame used to connect and support the beams and timbers of a wooden ship.
    More example sentences
    • The deck and hull are through bolted on an inward flange and structural knees and bulkheads are securely attached.
    • About half way down the keel, tucked between the knees of the ship was a low crate.
  • 3An abrupt obtuse or approximately right-angled bend in a graph between parts where the slope varies smoothly.

verb (knees, kneeing, kneed)

[with object] Back to top  
  • Hit (someone) with one’s knee: she kneed him in the groin
    More example sentences
    • But eyewitnesses had earlier told the court how the youth had set upon Mr Worrell, kneeing him in the face before deliberately stabbing him in the chest.
    • He is accused of throwing the 37-year-old saleswoman against a wall, kneeing her in the head and striking her head on the ground.
    • And not having slept on my own for more than three weeks, I now can't seem to drop off without someone next to me hogging the duvet and kneeing me in the back.

Phrases

at one's mother's (or father's) knee

At an early age.
More example sentences
  • The shop was staffed initially by her five children, who all learned the business and a service mentality at their mother's knee.
  • I remember listening to his distinctive, gravelly voice as a child at my father's knee.
  • But Alessi did not learn his trade at his mother's knee in Malta (although he fondly remembers the fabulous Maltese speciality, cheesecake-like pies called pastizzi).

bend (or bow) the (or one's) knee

Submit: a country no longer willing to bend its knee to foreign powers
More example sentences
  • All three, and countless other journalists throughout the world, have one thing in common: they refused to bow the knee, in the face of naked threats and aggression.
  • Let yesterday prove that Londoners and Britons of all faiths and backgrounds can still see clearly who their enemies are, and refuse to bow the knee.
  • And they despise the Good Friday agreement, which they see as bowing the knee to terrorism.

bring someone/thing to their/its knees

Reduce someone or something to a state of weakness or submission: the country was brought to its knees by a new strike
More example sentences
  • The fish-farming industry was brought to its knees by some report saying that eating farmed salmon can kill you.
  • Such a government could be brought to its knees within months.
  • This is the man who brought our industry to its knees with his third report.

fall (or drop, or sink, etc.) to one's knees

Assume a kneeling position.
More example sentences
  • Catholics in Pope John Paul II's hometown fell to their knees and wept as the news of his death reached them last night at the end of a special mass.
  • And at Santo Domingo airport, relatives of passengers aboard the plane sobbed and fell to their knees in grief.
  • I fell to my knees and started to cry again.

on bended knee (s)

Kneeling, especially when pleading or showing great respect: did your guy propose on bended knee?
More example sentences
  • After asking her father Graham's permission, he got down on bended knee at the top of the Eiffel Tower and presented her with a diamond engagement ring.
  • Before the start of the race yesterday afternoon he went down on bended knee and - witnessed by hundreds of punters - asked Wendy to spend the rest of her life with him.
  • I begged him on bended knee to give me a job, although he kept saying he couldn't afford to employ anyone.

on one's knees

In a kneeling position.
More example sentences
  • If you have to get down on your knees, try kneeling on one knee and then switching to the other one every minute to minimize the pressure and disperse it.
  • I was on my knees as I said these things, kneeling near the end of my bed with my hands joined in a vague approximation of a person praying.
  • When I came to my senses again, I was on my knees with JD kneeling beside me.
On the verge of collapse: when they took over, the newspaper was on its knees
More example sentences
  • Self-catering has its good points but when you are on your knees with exhaustion and badly need to be spoiled, indulged and treated like a princess, it's hard to remember exactly what they are.
  • They say that one of the best times to invest in a blue chip firm is when the company is on its knees.
  • At a time when most of the global economy is on its knees, Chinese exports have rocketed by 20% so far this year.

weak at the knees

Overcome by a strong feeling, typically desire.
More example sentences
  • His sun-kissed skin and stubble make the iciest of women weak at the knees.
  • Of course, I never met the lady in person - an experience that could apparently make strong men go weak at the knees.
  • Almost every foodie I have ever met goes weak at the knees at the mere mention of white truffles.
Synonyms
faint, dizzy, light-headed, giddy, shaky; weak-kneed, wobbly, quivery, unsteady, groggy, muzzy
informal trembly, all of a tremble, all of a quiver, with rubbery legs, woozy
rare vertiginous

Origin

Old English cnēow, cnēo, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch knie and German Knie, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin genu and Greek gonu.

More definitions of knee

Definition of knee in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
noun
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody