knap·​sack | \ ˈnap-ˌsak How to pronounce knapsack (audio) \
plural knapsacks

Definition of knapsack

: a bag (as of canvas or nylon) strapped on the back and used for carrying supplies or personal belongings : backpack sense 1a(2) But the 12-year-olds were dumping landslides of books into knapsacks and getting ready to leave, and all I could do was follow them out through the turnstiles and into the start of another summer.— Meg Wolitzer He had a Polaroid camera around his neck and a knapsack on his back.— Brian Selznick

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Other Words from knapsack

knapsacked \ ˈnap-​ˌsakt How to pronounce knapsack (audio) \ adjective

Examples of knapsack in a Sentence

grabbed my knapsack from the hook and ran to catch my ride
Recent Examples on the Web Another character shows up only briefly, but in the most haunting way—a young woman, alone, making her way in the dark through that vast lonely territory with just a knapsack. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, "‘Total Control’ Review: A Struggle Down Under," 10 Dec. 2020 Moments like the Child (seemingly enjoying) riding in a knapsack, playing with buttons on the Razor Crest, using the Force to stop fire and hanging in the pod are now captured. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "Celebrate the second season premiere of ‘The Mandalorian’ with brand-new merch," 30 Oct. 2020 Moments like The Child (seemingly enjoying) riding in a knapsack, playing with buttons on the Razor Crest, using the Force to stop fire and hanging in the pod are now captured. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "New ‘Mandalorian’ figures and Legos arrive just in time for season 2," 21 Sep. 2020 Now, the water comes in plastic bottles, and one of the trackers will always have a knapsack full of them. David E. Petzal, Field & Stream, "Ghosts of Africa," 27 Dec. 2017 President Clinton mentioned the trench coat, the knapsack, the book to read, the apple to eat, the toothbrush. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "Former President Barack Obama delivers a rousing eulogy: 'America was built by John Lewises'," 30 July 2020 And the knapsack problem is more than a thought experiment. Elizabeth Landau, Smithsonian Magazine, "How the Mathematical Conundrum Called the ‘Knapsack Problem’ Is All Around Us," 9 Mar. 2020 Like others in the genre, the Sibley guides are small enough to slip into a coat or knapsack. Danny Heitman, The Christian Science Monitor, "What are birds doing? David Allen Sibley knows.," 20 May 2020 With a structured silhouette in glossy leather, the drawstring knapsack graduates into adulting territory. Megan Ditrolio, Marie Claire, "Instant Classics," 23 Mar. 2020

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

1599, 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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Time Traveler for knapsack

Time Traveler

The first known use of knapsack was in 1599

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Statistics for knapsack

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Knapsack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for knapsack


knap·​sack | \ ˈnap-ˌsak How to pronounce knapsack (audio) \

Kids Definition of knapsack

: a bag for carrying things on the shoulders or back

More from Merriam-Webster on knapsack

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for knapsack

Nglish: Translation of knapsack for Spanish Speakers

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