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switchblade

[swich-bleyd]
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noun
  1. a pocketknife, the blade of which is held by a spring and can be released suddenly, as by pressing a button.

Origin of switchblade

First recorded in 1905–10; switch + blade
Also called switchblade knife, switch knife.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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.


British Dictionary definitions for switchblade

switchblade

switchblade knife

noun
  1. US and 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

Word Origin and History for switchblade

n.

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