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knack

[nak]
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noun
  1. a special skill, talent, or aptitude: He had a knack for saying the right thing.
  2. a clever or adroit way of doing something.
  3. a trick or ruse.
  4. a sharp, cracking sound.
  5. Archaic. a knickknack; trinket.

Origin of knack

1325–75; Middle English: trick; perhaps same word as knak sharp-sounding blow, rap, cracking noise (imitative)

Synonyms

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1. aptness, facility, dexterity.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for knack

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Yet do I know what a task I have undertaken, because of the knack you are noted for at writing.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • I said it required a knack or a genius or something and that I was certain you had it.

    Mary-'Gusta

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Nothing is more important to good teaching than the knack of apt illustration.

    College Teaching

    Paul Klapper

  • The Moors brought the knack from the ancient city of Damascus.

  • Did we children of Boccaccio impart to you that knack for practical joking?


British Dictionary definitions for knack

knack

noun
  1. a skilful, ingenious, or resourceful way of doing something
  2. a particular talent or aptitude, esp an intuitive one

Word Origin

C14: probably variant of knak sharp knock, rap, of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for knack

n.

mid-14c., "deception, trick, device," of uncertain origin, probably from a Low German word meaning "a sharp sounding blow" (cf. Middle English knak, late 14c.; German knacken "to crack"), of imitative origin. Sense of "special skill" is first recorded 1580s, if this is in fact the same word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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