paper knife

  1. a small, often decorative, knifelike instrument with a blade of metal, ivory, wood, or the like, for slitting open envelopes, the leaves of books, folded papers, etc.
  2. the blade of a paper cutter.

Origin of paper knife

First recorded in 1800–10 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for paperknife

Historical Examples of paperknife

  • Hella is painting a paperknife in imitation of tarsia mosaic.

    A Young Girl's Diary

    An Anonymous Young Girl

  • I attacked it bravely, however, hacking my way into it, paperknife in hand.

    Simon the Jester

    William J. Locke

  • He sat drumming on his desk with the antique stainless steel spatula he used as a paperknife.

    Helpfully Yours

    Evelyn E. Smith

  • The little judge rapped on the table with his paperknife and urged the reader afresh upon his wild career.

British Dictionary definitions for paperknife


noun plural -knives
  1. a knife with a comparatively blunt blade, esp one of wood, bone, etc, for opening sealed envelopes
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