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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from knife

Noun

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

Synonyms for knife

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hogle Zoo turned to vandalism and an alleged threat with a knife, zoo officials said. Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Fraternity members accused of vandalizing Hogle Zoo’s Halloween exhibit," 19 Oct. 2020 In a press conference Wednesday, Adams said the officer was being chased by Munoz, who was armed with a knife. Eric Levenson And Sonia Moghe, CNN, "Lancaster police officer was justified in shooting knife-wielding man and will not face charges, DA says," 14 Oct. 2020 No more scraping around the edges with a knife and marring nonstick surfaces in the process. Paul Stephen, ExpressNews.com, "Paul’s Cooking Tips: How to use a silicone muffin pan in so many ways beyond baking: freezing stock, ice cubes and organizing," 10 Oct. 2020 That’s when the Doodler stabbed and slashed his victims to death with a knife, then dumped the bodies at Ocean Beach and in Golden Gate Park. Kevin Fagan, SFChronicle.com, "Countless murder mysteries bedevil the Bay Area: The Zodiac. The Doodler. President Harding," 9 Oct. 2020 Individuals were engaged in a dispute inside a business when a female struck two women with a knife and fled. Washington Post, "Alexandria and Arlington crime watch," 7 Oct. 2020 Zamora allegedly grabbed a knife from the kitchen and stabbed the woman in the chest, breaking off a portion of the blade. Michelle Hunter | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "Man wanted for stabbing ex-girlfriend, slashing her mother with knife, after breakup: Kenner police," 1 Oct. 2020 State agents later recovered a knife from the floor on the driver's side of the vehicle, the department said. Arkansas Online, "Teen charged in Kenosha killings stalls return to Wisconsin," 28 Aug. 2020 Agents later recovered a knife from the floor on the driver's side of the vehicle, the department said. CBS News, "2 officers fired tasers at Jacob Blake before he was shot, Wisconsin Justice Department says," 28 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: 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, "How does ‘The Last of Us Part II’ play? The answer is extremely well.," 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, "Big Volkswagen Atlas shrugs off the snow," 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, "QB Rudolph leads Steelers past Bengals 27-3," 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, "Cassius Winston's memorable game carries Michigan State to 3rd straight Big Ten title," 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, "Film room: 3 realistic trades the Cowboys could consider this offseason, including a blockbuster deal for a safety," 27 Jan. 2020 Then the lead was knifed to 10 points on Scott's touchdown. Rich Exner, cleveland, "This is what happened when Paul Brown’s Bengals played Cleveland for the first time: Browns Flashback," 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, "“Chaim is really sharp and has a deserved reputation in the game,’’ Epstein stated. “He is a great guy to boot. I’m excited for him and the Red Sox.’’," 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, "Bears Sunday storylines: Mitch Trubisky’s ill-fated RPO, a slow start investigation and the Chargers’ terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day," 25 Oct. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about knife

Time Traveler for knife

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for knife

Last Updated

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Knife.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/knife. Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for knife

knife

noun
How to pronounce knife (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on knife

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Namesakes Word Quiz

  • a citrus fruit possibly named after a person
  • Which of the following is a fruit named after a Moroccan seaport?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!