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. 2024

How to use paper knife in a sentence

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

    Helpfully Yours | Evelyn E. Smith
  • Do not use too much paste, and crease the paper carefully along, and slightly into, the 'joint' with an ivory paperknife.

    The Book-Hunter at Home | P. B. M. Allan
  • He listened without interruption, playing with the ivory 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

British Dictionary definitions for paperknife


/ (ˈpeɪpəˌnaɪf) /

nounplural -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