knife

noun, often attributive
\ ˈnīf How to pronounce knife (audio) \
plural knives\ ˈnīvz How to pronounce knives (audio) \

Definition of knife

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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

knife

verb
knifed; knifing

Definition of knife (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from knife

Noun

knifelike \ ˈnīf-​ˌlīk How to pronounce knifelike (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for knife

Synonyms: Noun

blade, cutter, shank [slang], shiv [slang]

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Examples of knife in a Sentence

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

What made him a champion was his freakish ability to balance a car on the knife’s edge of its physical limits longer than anyone else. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Racing With Mindful Abandon," 4 May 2019 Arya's knife trick This episode was really about Arya's journey coming full circle—her years of training finally paying off—and that's definitely seen in each of her callbacks. Lindsay Schallon, Glamour, "All the Game of Thrones Callbacks You Missed During the Battle of Winterfell," 29 Apr. 2019 However, Nwadike notes that wood boards tend to have more grooves from knife use where bacteria can hide and thrive. Cassie Shortsleeve, SELF, "Should You Be Washing Chicken Before You Cook It?," 10 Apr. 2019 Sky News reported the teen was hospitalized after the attack, which began with verbal abuse before a knife was pulled. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "A Trans Teen Was Attacked in the United Kingdom the Day Before Transgender Day of Visibility," 1 Apr. 2019 Swirl the mixture in a figure-eight pattern a couple of times using a butter knife (don’t swirl too much or the mixture will become muddy). Kate Merker, Country Living, "Chocolate-Matcha Swirl Pound Cake," 19 Mar. 2019 But soon after, authorities say Carter — with a pot of hot grease in one hand and bleach and a butcher knife in the other — hunted down Henderson. Raisa Habersham, ajc, "DeKalb woman convicted of throwing hot grease in victim’s face," 13 July 2018 Men with knives just plain can’t do the damage that men with semi-automatic weapons do. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "How We Can Stop Mass Shootings in America," 20 Nov. 2018 Cooper and Hill taunted the teen with knives and sliced up his sweatshirt, hair and scalp while the teen was tied up and gagged, Lanier said. Megan Crepeau, chicagotribune.com, "Last of 4 defendants pleads guilty to beating teen with disability in livestreamed Facebook attack," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

An uptick in knifing and homemade bomb attacks, blamed on Uighur militants, happened in China in 2014. Eva Dou, WSJ, "China’s Muslim Crackdown Extends to Those Living Abroad," 31 Aug. 2018 In 1999 Angela Merkel knifed Wolfgang Schäuble in a steely newspaper op-ed implicitly linking him to the corruption scandal that had consumed Helmut Kohl, his political mentor. The Economist, "The politics of migration in Germany," 21 June 2018 One simulation found that the shadows of the highest towers may knife a mile into the park on the winter solstice. Catherine Cusick, Longreads, "The Urban Crisis of Affluence," 21 June 2018 Lava from Kilauea has also downed power lines and knifed across highways. Sophia Yan And Malcolm Ritter, The Christian Science Monitor, "Hawaii volcano spews out lava ... and information for scientists," 7 June 2018 As Andersen regrouped and squared to the rebound, center Johan Larsson knifed toward the puck. Alex Prewitt, SI.com, "Ambiguous Goalie Interference Rules Continue to Bemuse NHL Ahead of Playoffs," 11 Apr. 2018 With the Wolf Pack rushing into the offensive zone, Drew Melanson, playing his second pro game out of Boston University, knifed the puck on net from the right side, and Gropp buried the rebound. Staff Report, courant.com, "Providence Bruins 6, Hartford Wolf Pack 3," 6 Apr. 2018 Within seconds, several marshals in green jackets (not those green jackets) knifed through the gallery. Teddy Greenstein, chicagotribune.com, "Masters crowd showers Tiger Woods with love, but he gives them little to cheer on Day 1," 5 Apr. 2018 But Bryan Braham knifed through and tackled Burkhead at the New England 9-yard line. Mike Sielski, Philly.com, "After winning the Super Bowl, where can the Eagles improve? There's one obvious answer | Mike Sielski," 16 Mar. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of knife

Noun

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

Verb

1865, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for knife

Noun

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

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Statistics for knife

Last Updated

11 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for knife

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

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More Definitions for knife

knife

noun

English Language Learners Definition of knife

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a usually sharp blade attached to a handle that is used for cutting or as a weapon

knife

verb

English Language Learners Definition of knife (Entry 2 of 2)

: to injure (someone) with a knife
: to move easily and quickly like a knife cutting through something

knife

noun
\ ˈnīf How to pronounce knife (audio) \
plural knives\ ˈnīvz \

Kids Definition of knife

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a cutting instrument consisting of a sharp blade fastened to a handle
2 : a cutting blade in a machine

knife

verb
knifes; knifed; knifing

Kids Definition of knife (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stab, slash, or wound with a knife

knife

noun
\ ˈnīf How to pronounce knife (audio) \
plural knives\ ˈnīvz How to pronounce knives (audio) \

Medical Definition of knife

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on knife

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with knife

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for knife

Spanish Central: Translation of knife

Nglish: Translation of knife for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of knife for Arabic Speakers

Comments on knife

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