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Origin of shiv
Words nearby shiv
ABOUT THIS WORD
What does shiv mean?
A shiv is a slang term for a knife, especially a switchblade. It is most often used to refer to improvised blades made in prison and the act of stabbing (shivving) fellow inmates or guards with them.
Where does shiv come from?
Shiv originates in British thieves’ slang term for a “knife,” chive or chiv, dating back to the 17th century. It is thought that chive and chiv are rooted in a Romany word for “blade.”
Shiv is an American English version of chive showing up as early as 1897. In his memoir The Road, Jack London chronicles his days as a hobo. He documents a lot of slang he encounters while hopping trains, including shiv for”knife.”
Shiv (shivving, shivved) has been used as a verb since at least the 1930s. In the story “Dream Street Rose” by Damon Runyon, for instance, a character is shivved (“stabbed”) by another. Shiv spread as a slang term in prisons, especially for knives improvised out of material at hand.
How is shiv used in real life?
Shiv is most often used to refer specifically to homemade knives in prison. A similar term to shiv is shank.
“Welcome to Oz!”
The prison or the magical realm?
“The magical realm”
*slowly taking shiv away from Tin Man’s throat*
— sweaty five dollars (@iscoff) May 3, 2018
More examples of shiv:
“I broke one of my rules earlier today and went into Trader Joe’s (on a holiday!) — looked like a prison riot and I was without my shiv!”
—@elitejano, September 2008
“Dough Boy was the shot-caller, or the leader of his respective tribe, responsible for everything from negotiating with other factions to approving a well-placed shiv in someone’s abdomen.”
—Tim Alberta, Politico, September 2018
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
Example sentences from the Web for shiv
“We are trying to make the weather cute,” Shiv Takhar, the other creator, says.
In the mid-60s, the Shiv Sena spoke of the erosion of Marathi.
Thackeray, it said, “like a veteran general, commanded his loyal Shiv Sainiks to retaliate by organized attacks against Muslims.”
Yet the astonishing thing is that reports like these are music to the ears of the Shiv Sena.
Because the big chief of his party, the Shiv Sena, went on life support two days ago.
Shiv steered into the wash room, and the doors dropped back into place.
Shiv speeded up to forty miles an hour as he rolled to the top of a little hill.
His gloved fingers closed on Squid Murphy and the killer called Shiv simultaneously.
The man called Shiv was driving Delancy's get-away car at a conservative pace so as not to excite suspicion.
Shiver, shiv′ėr, n. a splinter, or small piece into which a thing breaks by sudden violence.