\ ˈshiv How to pronounce shiv (audio) \
plural shivs

Definition of shiv

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small usually improvised pointed or bladed weapon With nothing but time on their hands, the prisoners craft weapons from available resources: shivs are made from toothbrushes or pieces of metal bunks.Newsweek Some created makeshift weapons by fashioning "shivs" out of sharpened spoons and toothbrushes …— Kristian Silva The guards were … attacked with a makeshift weapon—a so-called shiv, fashioned from razor blades and a toothbrush …The Irish Examiner … remove the staple from a magazine, straighten it, mount it in a juice straw …, you got yourself a neat little shiv— Kent H. Dixon sometimes used figuratively … gave an artful lesson in how to stick a shiv into a sitting president without ever raising his voice or making a specific accusation.— Walter Shapiro


shivved also shived; shivving also shiving; shivs

Definition of shiv (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to stab or cut (someone) with a shiv (see shiv entry 1) shivved him in the back often used figuratively Any signs of dissent will result in his personally shivving the offender politically …— Hayes Brown

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Synonyms for shiv

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of shiv in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Maybe that’s the real irony, the way Ishiguro sticks in the shiv. Judith Shulevitz, The Atlantic, 2 Mar. 2021 The shiv that Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott stuck in the back of the 2020 Showdown feels more like the middle of a row of falling dominoes, as opposed to the end. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, 18 July 2020 Maybe someone in his camp can gently give him a shiv. Emma Colton, Washington Examiner, 16 Mar. 2020 The officer called for help as Brooks stabbed Little, who was also armed with a shiv and fought back., 27 Oct. 2019 Crawford’s throat was slashed with a homemade knife, known as a shiv or shank., 27 Oct. 2019 That brings us to the second shiv into Medicare buried in the executive order. Los Angeles Times, 4 Oct. 2019 Blunderbuss, shiv or photon torpedo Perhaps the simplest way to attack a satellite is to hit it with a missile from Earth. The Economist, 18 July 2019 When her character Anne Montgomery leans in, look out for a shiv. Amy Nicholson, Town & Country, 24 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shiv.' 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 shiv


1897, in the meaning defined above


1926, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for shiv


alteration of chiv, of unknown origin

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Cite this Entry

“Shiv.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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