[ pen-nahyf ]
/ ˈpɛnˌnaɪf /

noun, plural pen·knives.

a small pocketknife, formerly one used for making and sharpening quill pens.

Origin of penknife

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at pen1, knife Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for penknife

British Dictionary definitions for penknife

/ (ˈpɛnˌnaɪf) /

noun plural -knives

a small knife with one or more blades that fold into the handle; pocketknife

Word Origin for penknife

C15: so called because it was originally used for making and repairing quill pens
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