Definition of white-knuckle in English:


Pronunciation /ˌ(h)wītˈnək(ə)l/ /ˌ(h)waɪtˈnək(ə)l/


  • 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


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