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knife

[nahyf]
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noun, plural knives [nahyvz] /naɪvz/.
  1. an instrument for cutting, consisting essentially of a thin, sharp-edged, metal blade fitted with a handle.
  2. a knifelike weapon; dagger or short sword.
  3. any blade for cutting, as in a tool or machine.
verb (used with object), knifed, knif·ing.
  1. to apply a knife to; cut, stab, etc., with a knife.
  2. to attempt to defeat or undermine in a secret or underhanded way.
verb (used without object), knifed, knif·ing.
  1. to move or cleave through something with or as if with a knife: The ship knifed through the heavy seas.
Idioms
  1. under the knife, in surgery; undergoing a medical operation: The patient was under the knife for four hours.

Origin of knife

before 1100; Middle English knif, Old English cnīf; cognate with Dutch knijf, German Kneif, Old Norse knīfr
Related formsknife·like, adjectiveknif·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for knifing

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He held his breath, awaiting the knifing pain it seemed natural to expect.

    Flamedown

    Horace Brown Fyfe

  • The man she had killed was in the act of knifing Raft in the back.

    The Beach of Dreams

    H. De Vere Stacpoole

  • If the knifing business were to occur before the finding, it would help some!

    In Her Own Right

    John Reed Scott

  • He arrived only just in time, the men were in the act of knifing him.

  • Men were clasping hands, buying and selling, knifing and shooting.

    The Road Builders

    Samuel Merwin


British Dictionary definitions for knifing

knife

noun plural knives (naɪvz)
  1. a cutting instrument consisting of a sharp-edged often pointed blade of metal fitted into a handle or onto a machine
  2. a similar instrument used as a weapon
  3. have one's knife in someone to have a grudge against or victimize someone
  4. twist the knife to make a bad situation worse in a deliberately malicious way
  5. the knives are out for someone British people are determined to harm or put a stop to someonethe knives are out for Stevens
  6. under the knife undergoing a surgical operation
verb (tr)
  1. to cut, stab, or kill with a knife
  2. to betray, injure, or depose in an underhand way
Derived Formsknifelike, adjectiveknifer, noun

Word Origin

Old English cnīf; related to Old Norse knīfr, Middle Low German knīf
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 knifing

knife

n.

late Old English cnif, probably from Old Norse knifr, from Proto-Germanic *knibaz (cf. Middle Low German knif, Middle Dutch cnijf, German kneif), of uncertain origin. To further confuse the etymology, there also are forms in -p-, e.g. Dutch knijp, German kneip. French canif "penknife" (mid-15c.) is borrowed from Middle English or Norse.

knife

v.

1865, from knife (n.). Related: Knifed; knifing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with knifing

knife

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.