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

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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 The man armed with the knife was arrested and is waiting to be booked into the jail, Peach said. Mckenna Oxenden, baltimoresun.com, "Driver cuts three men, himself with knife during road rage incident in Dundalk, Baltimore County police say," 17 Sep. 2019 Sprague argued that details of the craftsmanship suggested that the knife was made well after Crazy Horse’s death. Brooke Jarvis, The New Yorker, "Who Speaks for Crazy Horse?," 16 Sep. 2019 Assuming that second opinion confirms what the Brewers' doctors have determined, the fact that Yelich won't have to go under the knife to repair his patella is significant on many levels for both player and team. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers, Christian Yelich breathe sigh of relief: No surgery necessary for the reigning MVP," 12 Sep. 2019 Parscale has assumed the role of Trump’s troll-in-chief, backing his boss’s boasts and false claims; generating ads playing to voters’ fears; twisting the knife on the president’s opponents; and caricaturing Democrats’ policies. Peter Elkind, ProPublica, "The Myths of the “Genius” Behind Trump’s Reelection Campaign," 11 Sep. 2019 The sergeant saw the knife and told Glass to drop it. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Knife-wielding man charged at LMPD sergeant and others inside Norton Hospital, police say," 11 Sep. 2019 Set at the fictional Camp Redwood, the new season of AHS will see the young cast terrorized by Mr. Jingles, a knife-wielding mental patient on the loose. Paula Bernstein, Fortune, "Here’s When Your Favorite Shows Return to TV This Fall," 5 Sep. 2019 Thankfully, the person running my demo of the game last week in San Francisco tapped me on the shoulder before the knife-wielding android had a chance to catch up to me. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Westworld Awakening is a VR game that puts you in the shoes of a newly self-aware android," 19 Aug. 2019 Lefty Biceps, a 19-year-old club fighter and petty thief from Chicago’s Polish Northwest Side who is intimidated by a knife-wielding fellow gang member into allowing his girlfriend, Steffi, to be raped by the whole gang. Algis Valiunas, National Review, "Nelson Algren: Chicago’s Bard of the Downtrodden," 11 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb These days, just knifing through the clutter is surely worth something. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'The Brady Bunch' and 'BH90210' test the limits of nostalgia," 9 Sep. 2019 Jordan Glasgow, who started at weakside linebacker after a move from the hybrid Viper position, knifed into the backfield for two sacks. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football's new offense shines, despite sloppiness, in 40-21 win over MTSU," 31 Aug. 2019 Defensive end Arden Key had a good sequence on consecutive snaps in the latter, coming into the backfield clean to stop a handoff to Jalen Richard and then knifing in from what appeared to be an interior position. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, "Raiders practice report: ‘A good competition’ at punter," 1 Aug. 2019 On Saturday against the Rams, Purcell knifed through the interior to tackle running back Justin Davis for a 2-yard loss in the fourth quarter. Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post, "Broncos’ DeShawn Williams, Mike Purcell pushing through roster bubble," 26 Aug. 2019 The sharp peal of a bell knifes through loud gunfire. Gieson Cacho, The Mercury News, "Review: Logitech G Pro X is a complete package for gamers," 22 Aug. 2019 During a news conference, the commander provided some of the first details about the encounter early Friday in which Deputy Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega, 35, was knifed 11 times. Washington Post, "Italy: Slain police officer didn’t have gun when stabbed," 31 July 2019 Investigators allege Elder knifed the policeman during a struggle after Cerciello Rega and his partner, both plainclothes officers, identified themselves as police. CBS News, "American teen held in Italian officer's deadly stabbing may have been blindfolded by police during interrogation," 28 July 2019 Investigators allege Elder knifed the policeman during a struggle after Cerciello Rega and his partner, both plainclothes officers, identified themselves as police. Frances D'emilio, Houston Chronicle, "Italy: Teen held in officer's death 'illegally blindfolded'," 28 July 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.

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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

26 Oct 2019

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
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on knife

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for knife

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with knife

Spanish Central: Translation of knife

Nglish: Translation of knife for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of knife for Arabic Speakers

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