knife

1 of 2

noun

plural knives ˈnīvz How to pronounce knife (audio)
often attributive
1
a
: a cutting instrument consisting of a sharp blade fastened to a handle
b
: a weapon or tool resembling a knife
2
: a sharp cutting blade or tool in a machine
3
: surgery sense 4
usually used in the phrase under the knife
knifelike adjective

knife

2 of 2

verb

knifed; knifing

transitive verb

1
: to use a knife on
specifically : to stab, slash, or wound with a knife
2
: to cut, mark, or spread with a knife
3
: to try to defeat by underhanded means
4
: to move like a knife in
birds knifing the autumn sky

intransitive verb

: to cut a way with or as if with a knife blade
the cruiser knifed through the heavy seas

Example Sentences

Noun Each dinner guest gets two forks, a knife, and a spoon. He pulled a knife on me and threatened to stab me with it. Verb He died after being knifed in the chest. ships knifing through the waves
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
During the boot camp, students worked alongside industry professionals to sharpen their knife-cutting, cooking, business management, menu development, and marketing skills. Nour Rahal, Detroit Free Press, 20 Jan. 2023 Acquired from the estate of a renowned A-list Holly wood actor (whose name will be revealed upon purchase), the ring is set in platinum and accented with 46 European cut diamonds on knife edge shoulders that buttress the prong setting. Victoria Gomelsky, Robb Report, 20 Jan. 2023 The only tool Rosa Leff uses directly in making her cutout-paper vignettes is a knife. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 20 Jan. 2023 The victims were found murdered in an off-campus home November 13, killed with what investigators believe was a knife. Elizabeth Joseph, CNN, 18 Jan. 2023 Darryl Getman also had severe facial wounds and a yellow butcher knife was still in his stomach, according to the arrest affidavit. Amanda Rabines, Orlando Sentinel, 18 Jan. 2023 One of them appears to place a kitchen knife in his waistband before leaving the store. Paul Best, Fox News, 16 Jan. 2023 Upgrade her wedding stack with this modern knife-edge carre diamond band by Lizzie Mandler. Laura Lajiness Kaupke, Harper's BAZAAR, 16 Jan. 2023 The knife attack was captured on the bus' onboard surveillance camera, police said. Bill Hutchinson, ABC News, 15 Jan. 2023
Verb
This can come in handy when picking off enemies silently, as can ambushing them from behind and knifing them with your switch blade (Ellie has no shivs, the breakable weapons from the prior game). Washington Post, 1 June 2020 My first snow-speeder of the day! — a hulking Ram pickup knifing in and out of traffic, eager to show off its road-skiing abilities. cleveland, 8 Feb. 2020 Conner and Samuels touched the ball on all five snaps of a second-quarter drive that ended with Conner taking a flip from Rudolph and knifing his way into the end zone to give the Steelers a 7-3 lead. Will Graves, orlandosentinel.com, 1 Oct. 2019 Henry continued his second straight late-season surge by knifing into the paint and hitting short shots and forcing OSU’s defense to collapse, on top of an all-around performance at the other end of the floor. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, 8 Mar. 2020 Adams is outstanding at attacking his run fits and knifing his way into the backfield to make plays as a blitzer. John Owning, Dallas News, 27 Jan. 2020 Then the lead was knifed to 10 points on Scott's touchdown. Rich Exner, cleveland, 3 Dec. 2019 Dombrowski took over for Ben Cherington, who was knifed in the back less than two years after winning the 2013 World Series. BostonGlobe.com, 26 Oct. 2019 First-and-10 at the Titans 16: Philip Rivers hit Austin Ekeler underneath and the elusive running back knifed the final 12 yards into the end zone. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, 25 Oct. 2019 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English knif, from Old English cnīf, perhaps from Old Norse knīfr; akin to Middle Low German knīf knife

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1865, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of knife was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near knife

Cite this Entry

“Knife.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/knife. Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

knife

1 of 2 noun
plural knives ˈnīvz How to pronounce knife (audio)
1
: a cutting instrument consisting of a sharp blade fastened to a handle
2
: a cutting blade in a machine

knife

2 of 2 verb
knifed; knifing
1
: to stab, slash, or wound with a knife
2
: to move like a knife
ships knifing through the sea

Medical Definition

knife

noun
plural knives ˈnīvz How to pronounce knife (audio)
1
: any of various instruments used in surgery primarily to sever tissues: as
a
: a cutting instrument consisting of a sharp blade attached to a handle
b
: an instrument that cuts by means of an electric current
2
: surgery sense 3
usually used in the phrase under the knife
went under the knife yesterday
was afraid of the knife

More from Merriam-Webster on knife

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