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n.1.One who refuses to join, or withdraws from, a trade union.
2.A stick, cane, or club terminating in a knob; esp., such a stick or club used as a weapon or missile; a knobkerrie.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by G. & C. Merriam Co.
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York Castle 190 Beating him over the head with knobsticks. 1887 JESSOPP Arcady vii.
266 Terrifying the enemy with maniacal gestures, while stones and knobsticks fly through the air.
1826 Examiner 663/2 Skirmishes..between the turn-outs and those whom they call 'knobsticks'.
Falstaff has commandeered the poverty-stricken who have no choice--much as the masters in the novel have made "knobsticks" of desperate, unemployed men from outside Manchester--while the more prosperous have bribed him to avoid being pressed.