Definition of white-knuckle in English:



  • 1(especially of a vehicle, boat, or airplane ride) causing excitement or tension.

    ‘As a result, the simple roundabout - a peculiarly British invention that works on the principle of courtesy - has become a white-knuckle ride of fear.’
    • ‘The park's new white-knuckle ride, the Cliff Hanger, has been the centre of a row in recent months because of its colour scheme.’
    • ‘Once he has entered into his position, the white-knuckle ride and nail biting begins.’
    • ‘But walk beyond the white-knuckle rides and you suddenly find yourself in a different world - calmer and quieter, apart from the odd roar of a tiger or scream of a chimp.’
    • ‘However, life is the fast lane is a white-knuckle ride at times, because shares are volatile.’
    • ‘The park has recently strengthened its reputation with thrill-seekers by splashing out £5million on two new blood-rushing white-knuckle rides - Velocity and Navigator.’
    • ‘They only had about 15 to 20 minutes to get all the men off the boat, so it was certainly a white-knuckle ride.’
    • ‘Lobbyists believe that safety has been compromised as owners continue to build ever-faster white-knuckle rides to compete for larger profits from the 328 million visitors to US theme parks each year.’
    • ‘The Penny for Scotland campaign, hastily assembled in March 1999 to become the centrepiece of a white-knuckle ride towards the first Scottish Parliament ballot, has been ditched.’
    • ‘Interviews with the climbers and their companion Richard Hawking are intimate and direct, while the dramatic sequences place the viewer firmly at the front of this white-knuckle ride.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, daredevils had the chance to test their nerve on white-knuckle rides on Silcock's funfair.’
    • ‘A 74-year-old woman was taken on a white-knuckle ride through Melbourne's streets today after a robber stole her car without realising she was still in it.’
    • ‘A daredevil great-grandmother was the first person to test a 100 mph white-knuckle ride yesterday - and enjoyed it so much she went on again.’
    • ‘Drama teacher Cheryl Bartlett, 30, of Sprotborough, near Doncaster, said she was glad to be home after her holiday turned into a white-knuckle ride to safety.’
    • ‘He has now been interviewed by the police and the Health and Safety Executive, while the manufacturers of the white-knuckle ride have flown in from Italy to help with the investigation.’
    • ‘Planning permission for the white-knuckle ride was given last year but councillors decided the park had not complied with planning conditions when it was painted with red and white hoops.’
    • ‘The family of a teenage girl left horrifically injured after being catapulted from a white-knuckle ride told last night of the terrifying moment she realised she was going to fall.’
    • ‘Having split Brechin's defences after 22 minutes, a furiously-contested game latterly became something of a white-knuckle ride.’
    • ‘But the Deputy Prime Minister appeared to enjoy the white-knuckle ride, grinning throughout in the company of a couple of minders wearing shades.’
    • ‘The funeral of a student who suffered fatal injuries on Lightwater Valley's new white-knuckle ride two weeks ago will take place next week.’
    nerve-racking, stressful, anxious, worrying, concerning, fraught, charged, strained, nail-biting, worrisome, difficult, uneasy, uncomfortable
    1. 1.1Displaying or characterized by extreme excitement or fear.
      • ‘a succession of white-knuckled passengers got out of the plane’
      nervous, on edge, edgy, tense, anxious, ill at ease, unrelaxed, in a state of nerves, in a state of agitation, fretful, uneasy, restless, fidgety, worked up, keyed up, overwrought, wrought up, strung out, on tenterhooks, on pins and needles, with one's stomach in knots, worried, apprehensive, strained



/ˌ(h)wītˈnək(ə)l/ /ˌ(h)waɪtˈnək(ə)l/


1960s with reference to the effect caused by gripping tightly to steady oneself.