: a sharp wedge of steel or other hard material used as a fulcrum for a lever beam in a precision instrument
: a sharp narrow knifelike edge

Examples of knife-edge in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The decision to pause came down to a knife-edge vote. Hanna Ziady, CNN, 21 Sep. 2023 The shift is particularly clear when compared with the period preceding Erdogan’s victory in Turkey’s knife-edge May presidential election, in which Putin’s support was significant. Nadeen Ebrahim, CNN, 4 Sep. 2023 There are also knife-edge cushions that attach the front and back panels with a single seam, and waterfall cushions, with fabric wrapping from the top around to the underside and closed off with side panels. Caron Golden, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 June 2023 The earliest object is an exquisite 1951 painting by the late Lee Mullican, once a UCLA professor, its knife-edge rays of shimmery golden light emerging from a central core to summon the birth of new worlds in the era’s backwash of hydrogen bombs and Holocaust. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 27 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'knife-edge.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1818, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of knife-edge was in 1818

Dictionary Entries Near knife-edge

Cite this Entry

“Knife-edge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a sharp wedge usually of steel used as a support for a lever beam in a very exact instrument (as a balance)
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