"White knuckle" flight (1965); "White knuckler" (1971)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jul 7 14:20:33 UTC 2004

At 7:25 AM -0400 7/7/04, Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:
>WHITE KNUCKLES--12,900 Google hits, 4,090 Google Groups hits
>WHITE KNUCKLER--885 Google hits, 914 Google Groups hits

Curious that none of these involve sports contexts (esp. baseball),
where "white-knuckler" has long been used for close, suspenseful


>"I won't deny Plotz his boondoggle on Slate's dime--Tennessee is a
>fascinating state--but maybe in the future he'll do his homework
>first and concentrate
>on states, like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, which, barring a blowout by
>either candidate, look like legitimate whire-knucklers for each campaign."
>---NEW YORK PRESS, July 7-12, 2004, pg. 16, col. 4.
>    "White  knuckler?"  California's Magic Mountain ride gets in dictionaries?
>  This was added to OED in 1997, with first citations of 1973 and 1976.
>The Word Spy - white knuckler
>Search Word Spy: A Web site by Paul McFedries. white knuckler noun.
>A short-haul commuter airline flight. Example Citation: "Short ...
>www.wordspy.com/words/whiteknuckler.asp - 21k - Cached - Similar pages
>white, a.
>    Add:    [12.] [d.] white-knuckle colloq., (orig. N.Amer.), (esp. of a
>fairground ride) causing or supposed to cause fear or suspense of
>such intensity
>that one's knuckles whiten in an anxious grip; also (of a person),
>or showing such fear.
>   1976 Business Week 26 July 119/2 A less extreme, cheaper, and yet often
>effective course for the '*white knuckle' passenger is to join a
>fairly new type
>of therapy group devoted to taking the fear out of flying. 1982 N.Y. Times 11
>Apr. V. 5/3 Stadler salvaged a stroke with a two-foot birdie putt at the
>fifth, but it was whiteknuckle time again at the seventh, where he
>saved par from
>a bunker. 1985 Times 7 June 27/6 Wonderworld would eschew the 'white knuckle'
>rides but there would be thrills in another mode. 1986 Woman's Day
>(Melbourne) 25 Aug. 35/2 All you white-knuckle flyers will
>understand why Bob..put his
>private jet on the market..when the plane lost an engine and had to make an
>emergency landing. 1992 Caravan Mag. Sept. 36/3 It has the ususal
>array of rides,
>offering everything from the white-knuckle thrills of the Rattlesnake
>roller-coaster and the Tempest, in which passengers are suspended upside down.
>     So white-knuckled a., having white knuckles; (transf. and fig.) tense
>from barely contained emotion, esp. fear or suspense.
>   1973 Globe & Mail (Toronto) 8 Sept. 8/6 He meets local editors, goes on
>talk shows, flies *white-knuckled in bumpy bush planes. 1989 Daily
>Tel. 16 Sept.
>8/2 [They] open the gate for a white-knuckled sailor in a fat rented boat, who
>shrieks orders at his wife as she nips ashore with the bow rope. 1993
>Saturday Night (Toronto) June 53/2 It felt like an airplane about to
>crash. The 180
>students..focused on the teacher with white-knuckled concentration.
>   1. 50 Cities Within a City
>By Curtis J. Sitomer Christian Balance Monitor News Service. The Washington
>Post, Times Herald (1959-1973). Washington, D.C.: Feb 27, 1972. p.
>E2 (1 page):
>    ...Magic Mountain's "white knuckler" playland thrills in Valencia,...
>   2. Marquette Goes From Mid-Court to Final
>New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Mar 27, 1977. p. 169 (1
>   3. Fear of Flying Lists Big Gains; Air Travel Insurance Increases During
>By Jura Koncius Washington Post Staff Writer. The Washington Post
>(1974-Current file). Washington, D.C.: Aug 21, 1981. p. A9 (1 page)
>   1. WIFE BEATERS and their LOVE LETTERS; Rough and Brutal? No! Warm and
>Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963). Chicago, Ill.: Jan 2, 1916. p. 4H (1 page)
>Harold Mac Grath. Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963). Chicago, Ill.: Mar 12,
>1916. p. C2 (1 page)
>Judd Calm as He Follows Her. Ruth Snyder and Henry Judd Gray Die in Electric
>Chair--Democrats Pick Houston as Convention City
>SID SUTHERLAND. Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963). Chicago, Ill.: Jan 13,
>1928. p. 1 (3 pages)
>   4. RUTH SNYDER DIES FIRST; Then Judd Gray Goes to Chair Electrocution for
>Murder of Woman's Husband Ends Day of Turmoil Blond Pallid and Haggard as She
>Whimpers at Sight of Lethal Chamber
>SIDNEY SUTHERLAND. Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File). Los Angeles,
>Calif.: Jan 13, 1928. p. 1 (3 pages)
>   5. DEWEY IS UPHELD ON HIS HINES DATA; But Pecora Warns on Introducing of
>New Names--Rival Counsel in Bitter Clash Rule for Trial Is Set Up Defense
>Lawyers Surprised DEWEY IS UPHELD ON HIS HINES DATA Points to Early
>Statement Reads
>Part of Editorial Denies Reveallng Facts Court Cites renal Law
>New York Times (1857. Aug 5, 1938. p. 1 (2 pages)
>   6. NOVELS; ADAM RESURRECTED. By Yoram Kaniuk. Translated by Seymour S
>imches. Atheneum. 370 pp. $8.95 Memorial candles Of the railss
>Paraphase. By Joseph McElroy. Knopf. 307 pp. $6.95 Domestic scenen
>THE TREES. By Nina Bawden. Harper & Row. 194 pp. $5.95 The private truth THE
>BOOK OF DANIEL By E. L. Doctorow. Random House. 303 pp $6.95
>Reviewed by Steven Kroll. The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973).
>Washington, D.C.: Aug 1, 1971. p. 237 (1 page) :
>    ...Bob's white-knuckled fist..."
>   7. Display Ad 40 -- No Title
>New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Jun 12, 1990. p. C14 (1
>(WWW.NEWSPAPERARCHIVE.COM) ("white knuckler")
>    Lima News Sunday, November 28, 1971 Lima, Ohio
>...A bit of a snap, smirks the WHITE-KNUCKLER. It was to be much
>later.....out of hand and massacre a number of WHITE settlers. Their
>actions also..
>    Chronicle Telegram Thursday, June 07, 1973 Elyria, Ohio
>...Illinois engineer: and the renowned "WHITE KNUCKLER.V the roller-coaster.
>Valley News Thursday, April 15, 1971 Van Nuys, California
>...the amusement park balances "WHITE KNUCKLER" thrill rideswith live..
>Pg. 11B:  Now nearing completion, the amusement park balances "white
>knuckler" thrill rides with live entertainment and gentle rides for
>the children,
>Lemmon said.
>(Valencia Magic Mountain--ed.)
>Newark Advocate Saturday, January 11, 1969 Newark, Ohio
>...editor of The Steve Pyle, Advocate 'WHITE KNUCKLER' Films Flight
>Movie.....airport pi-friM; IT POETICALLY me a WHITE-knuckle
>passenger manager's..
>Post Crescent Sunday, November 28, 1971 Zanesville, Ohio
>...A bit of a snap, actually. smirks the WHITE-KNUCKLER. It was to be much
>later.....wrons 1 ex-plained. "I'm an advanced WHITE knuckle flyer." said the
>boss with..
>(WWW.NEWSPAPERARCHIVE.COM) ("white knuckle")
>    Frederick Post Tuesday, April 01, 1930 Frederick, Maryland
>...the flight. Franklin Roosevelt, a WHITE KNUCKLE flyer who was the
>first.....all identically painted in blue and WHITE with the
>presidential seal..
>Valley Independent Thursday, October 07, 1965 Monessen, Pennsylvania
>...with the offer of a paper bag on the WHITE KNUCKLE flight? Absolutely
>Pg. 6, col. 1:  Could the airlines lure businessmen up into the clouds in a
>rainstorm with the offer of a paper bag on the whire knuckle flights?
>Absolutely not.
>Reno Evening Gazette Wednesday, May 03, 1967 Reno, Nevada
>...into the blue. Your first flight, or WHITE-KNUCKLE trip as it _ known in
>the.....Kathy Grant Crosby is devoted to tiny WHITE orchids. Rita Hayworth
>would love..
>    Lima News Saturday, January 11, 1969 Lima, Ohio
>...But that was enough to make me a WHITE-KNUCKLE passenger after that..
>    Gettysburg Times Monday, July 14, 1969 Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
>...main clinic for the nurses to look at. WHITE KNUCKLE FLIGHT He never told
>me.....have a baby, and darn soon. It was a WHITE KNUCKLE flight for me after
>    Post Crescent Sunday, September 28, 1969 Appleton, Wisconsin
>...RMS QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 (AP) For the WHITE KNUCKLE flyer who must go down

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