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White knuckle

Posted by James Briggs on November 10, 2007

In Reply to: White knuckle posted by Sharan Pola on November 10, 2007

: What does 'white knuckle' mean? I understand it implies making a conscious effort of will for some purpose. Is that correct? What are the origins of the phrase anyway?

Literally the way your knuckles go white if you're hanging on to something with all your might. Think of a roller - coaster ride and the way people hang on to the rail in front of them - their knuckles will very likely be white!

Thus, if your hanging onto something, even figuratively, such a majority in an electoral vote, it can be described as a 'white knuckle ride'.