- an instrument for cutting, consisting essentially of a thin, sharp-edged, metal blade fitted with a handle.
- a knifelike weapon; dagger or short sword.
- any blade for cutting, as in a tool or machine.
- to apply a knife to; cut, stab, etc., with a knife.
- to attempt to defeat or undermine in a secret or underhanded way.
- to move or cleave through something with or as if with a knife: The ship knifed through the heavy seas.
- under the knife, in surgery; undergoing a medical operation: The patient was under the knife for four hours.
Origin of knife
Examples from the Web for knifing
He wanted someone who could communicate with the generals and keep them from knifing him in the back.Obama's War With the Pentagon
October 10, 2010
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.Under the Rebel's Reign
Men were clasping hands, buying and selling, knifing and shooting.The Road Builders
- a cutting instrument consisting of a sharp-edged often pointed blade of metal fitted into a handle or onto a machine
- a similar instrument used as a weapon
- have one's knife in someone to have a grudge against or victimize someone
- twist the knife to make a bad situation worse in a deliberately malicious way
- the knives are out for someone British people are determined to harm or put a stop to someonethe knives are out for Stevens
- under the knife undergoing a surgical operation
- to cut, stab, or kill with a knife
- to betray, injure, or depose in an underhand way
Word Origin and History for knifing
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.
1865, from knife (n.). Related: Knifed; knifing.
Idioms and Phrases with knifing
see at gunpoint (knifepoint); under the knife; you could cut it with a knife.