[ nak-er ]

  1. a person who buys animal carcasses or slaughters useless livestock for a knackery or rendering works.

  2. a person who buys and dismembers old houses, ships, etc., to salvage usable parts, selling the rest as scrap.

  1. Dialect. an old, sick, or useless farm animal, especially a horse.

  2. Obsolete. a harness maker; a saddler.

Origin of knacker

1565–75; knack (<Scandinavian; compare Icelandic hnakkr nape of the neck, saddle) + -er1

Words Nearby knacker Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use knacker in a sentence

  • I felt forced to follow, and soon found myself outside a knacker's yard.

  • "Now so surely as I am Kurt, the knacker, there is more in this priestling than meets the eye," he muttered.

    The Doomsman | Van Tassel Sutphen
  • One of the guardsmen held out a full ox-horn of wine, and the knacker seized it and forced it into Constans's hand.

    The Doomsman | Van Tassel Sutphen
  • A harsh croak greeted him, and he recognized the crippled sailor who called himself Kurt the knacker.

    The Doomsman | Van Tassel Sutphen
  • Old horses, fit but for the knacker's yard, and burdened till they could barely stand, were being goaded forward through the mud.

    The Trail of '98 | Robert W. Service

British Dictionary definitions for knacker


/ (ˈnækə) British /

  1. a person who buys up old horses for slaughter

  2. a person who buys up old buildings and breaks them up for scrap

  1. (usually plural) slang another word for testicle

  2. Irish slang a despicable person

  1. (tr; usually passive) slang to exhaust; tire

Origin of knacker

C16: probably from nacker saddler, probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse hnakkur saddle

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