Knuckle sandwich

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The expression knuckle sandwich is an idiom with an origin that is generally ascribed to American movies of the 1930s. We will examine the meaning of the idiom knuckle sandwich where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

A knuckle sandwich is a punch in the mouth with a fist. The idea is that the “sandwich” is the hand. The origin of the expression knuckle sandwich is uncertain, but many experts trace the term to American movies in the early twentieth century featuring tough street children or small-time gangsters. The phrase is often rendered as “I ought to give you a knuckle sandwich,” meaning the listener deserves a punch in the mouth. The idiom is sometimes rendered as a question: “Do you want a knuckle sandwich?” This may be considered a warning to back off whatever course of action the listener is taking, under threat of violence.


Almost to a person, Bakker’s guests are a motley parade of pastors, biblical scholars and authors, all convinced that President Donald Trump is America’s last chance for a refill, and that people who criticize him are asking for a divine knuckle sandwich with a side of lightning bolt. (The Augusta Chronicle)

Taylor told the Daily News Ma gave her a knuckle sandwich when explained how she “defended” Ma’s stepdaughter Dejanae from an abusive man who was beating her up. (The New York Daily News)

Yeah, Nancy Elanor Hutchens was a tough kid and if she knew I printed her middle name in this article, she would likely feed me a knuckle sandwich for lunch. (The Daily Progress)

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