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

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

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

In my own kitchen, the glassware is visible above the bar, the knives are visible behind the prep sink, and our cutting board is out all the time. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Chopped's Ted Allen on How to Design a Kitchen You'll Never Want to Leave," 9 Apr. 2019 This not only harms intersex kids whose conditions are genetic and/or internal (and thus escaped the knife), but begins the societal process of assuming gender based on genitals. Samantha Riedel, Teen Vogue, "How to Break Away From the Gender Binary," 26 Oct. 2018 Just as cooking is an art form, forging these knives entail an artistic process. Popular Mechanics, "These Laser-Sharp Japanese Knives Are a Kitchen Staple," 14 Mar. 2019 Thousands of people will walk or drive past them and pay $16 each to see and handle all kinds of rifles, shotguns, handguns, tactical knives, and camouflage hunting gear. Phil Diehl, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Protesters to return with weekend gun show," 13 July 2018 Police were called to Minnehaha Regional Park on Tuesday after a 911 caller reported teens with sticks, knives and a possible gun in a backpack, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board said in a statement Wednesday. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "A police officer pointed his gun at 4 unarmed, black teens. Now police are investigating," 12 July 2018 Place batter into mini muffin liners and bake for 15-20 mins or until a cake tester or knife comes out clean. Health.com, "These Vanilla Cupcakes Are Made With Cauliflower—and You’d Never Know It," 10 July 2018 But don’t use metal spoons for stirring or knives for cutting to prevent wear and tear. Betty Gold, Good Housekeeping, "5 Best Ceramic Cookware Sets to Buy in 2019, According to Kitchen Product Experts," 1 Mar. 2019 In between courses, Clemens himself, accompanied by ambient jazz piano and tiny sounds of knives clinking on glasses, got on the microphone to express his gratitude to all who were present and lead a group-wide toast. Charlotte Diamond, Vogue, "Telfar Hosts a Southern, Family-Style Dinner at The Standard," 14 Feb. 2019

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.

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

Statistics for knife

Last Updated

13 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for knife

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!