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[swich-bleyd] /ˈswɪtʃˌbleɪd/
a pocketknife, the blade of which is held by a spring and can be released suddenly, as by pressing a button.
Also called switchblade knife, switch knife.
Origin of switchblade
First recorded in 1905-10; switch + blade Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for switchblade
Historical Examples
  • The switchblade snicked back and disappeared into a side pocket of the jacket, while Ord watched it with fascinated eyes.

    Remember the Alamo R. R. Fehrenbach
  • The other two curs outa the same litter: switchblade an' Turkey-Buzzard, over there.

    Lone Star Planet Henry Beam Piper and John Joseph McGuire
  • The next day, switchblade Joe Bonney came in to make payment on a note we were holding on him.

    Lone Star Planet Henry Beam Piper and John Joseph McGuire
  • After a moment he withdrew it, and fumbled in his leg pocket withdrawing a switchblade knife.

    First on the Moon Jeff Sutton
British Dictionary definitions for switchblade


(US & Canadian) a knife with a retractable blade that springs out when a button is pressed
Also called (in Britain and certain other countries) flick knife
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
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Word Origin and History for switchblade

also switch-blade, type of folding pocket knife, 1932, from switch (n.) + blade. So called for the "switch" which is pressed to spring the knife open. Earlier a similar tool was known as an Arkansas toothpick (1837) and a clasp-knife (1755).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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