knap·​sack | \ ˈnap-ˌsak \

Definition of knapsack 

: a bag (as of canvas or nylon) strapped on the back and used for carrying supplies or personal belongings

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Other Words from knapsack

knapsacked \ ˈnap-​ˌsakt \ adjective

Examples of knapsack in a Sentence

grabbed my knapsack from the hook and ran to catch my ride

Recent Examples on the Web

Whatever the reason, the insouciant charm of the original knapsack remains a symbol of unaffected chic, beckoning even the least sporty among us to strap a nylon backpack over our tutus and hit the streets. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "That’s So ’90s: Vogue Editors Share Their Favorite Fashion Memories From This Year’s Most Trending Decade," 22 Dec. 2018 Others hide Ziploc bags at the bottom of a purse or knapsack. Erich Schwartzel, WSJ, "Disney World’s Big Secret: It’s a Favorite Spot to Scatter Family Ashes," 24 Oct. 2018 This season, leave the dated knapsack at home and opt for a chic carryall that can hold anything—lunches, papers, a laptop—with genuine flair. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "Shop 15 Sleek Alternatives to the Bulky Backpack," 21 Aug. 2018 The cameras are among a number of personal possessions on display: a walking stick, a watercolor box, Homer’s Civil War press pass, a fishing net, a knapsack, a family photo album. Mark Feeney,, "A different lens for Winslow Homer," 28 June 2018 All of which is to say: the pacing and momentum of Sea of Thieves is designed to feel like the dusty, low-rent accordions that your pirates just happen to keep in their knapsacks. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Microsoft might finally have a forward-thinking game with Sea of Thieves," 30 Jan. 2018 Agents wielding metal detectors scanned knapsacks under the startled gaze of wide-eyed children. Elisabetta Povoledo, New York Times, "The Befana Market, a Beloved Roman Tradition, Is Imperiled," 7 Jan. 2018 The bottle-tops in our knapsacks were supposed to stand in for money, but vintage copies of Knave would probably be more effective. Rupert Goodwins, Ars Technica, "I’m a nuclear armageddon survivor: Ask me anything," 25 Nov. 2017 Kosinski and the writers studiously lay out the necessary parts and tools for this affecting story in the same way that Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin) packs his knapsack with gear. Katie Walsh, Detroit Free Press, "Review: ‘Only the Brave’ is full of heart," 19 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'knapsack.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of knapsack

1603, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for knapsack

Low German knappsack or Dutch knapzak, from Low German & Dutch knappen to make a snapping noise, eat + Low German sack or Dutch zak sack

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Statistics for knapsack

Last Updated

8 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for knapsack

The first known use of knapsack was in 1603

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More Definitions for knapsack


knap·​sack | \ ˈnap-ˌsak \

Kids Definition of knapsack

: a bag for carrying things on the shoulders or back

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More from Merriam-Webster on knapsack

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with knapsack

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for knapsack

Spanish Central: Translation of knapsack

Nglish: Translation of knapsack for Spanish Speakers

Comments on knapsack

What made you want to look up knapsack? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


marked by shyness and lack of polish

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