[ swich-bleyd ]
/ ˈswɪtʃˌbleɪd /


a pocketknife, the blade of which is held by a spring and can be released suddenly, as by pressing a button.

Nearby words

  1. switch-hit,
  2. switch-hitter,
  3. switch-off,
  4. switch-on,
  5. switchback,
  6. switchboard,
  7. switched-on,
  8. switched-star,
  9. switcheroo,
  10. switchgear

Origin of switchblade

First recorded in 1905–10; switch + blade

Also called switchblade knife, switch knife.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for switchblade

  • After a moment he withdrew it, and fumbled in his leg pocket withdrawing a switchblade knife.

    First on the Moon|Jeff Sutton
  • The other two curs outa the same litter: Switchblade an' Turkey-Buzzard, over there.

    Lone Star Planet|Henry Beam Piper and John Joseph McGuire
  • The next day, Switchblade Joe Bonney came in to make payment on a note we were holding on him.

    Lone Star Planet|Henry Beam Piper and John Joseph McGuire
  • The switchblade snicked back and disappeared into a side pocket of the jacket, while Ord watched it with fascinated eyes.

    Remember the Alamo|R. R. Fehrenbach

British Dictionary definitions for switchblade


switchblade knife

/ (ˈswɪtʃˌbleɪd) /


US and Canadian a knife with a retractable blade that springs out when a button is pressed
Also called (in Britain and certain other countries): flick knife

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

Word Origin and History for switchblade



also switch-blade, type of folding pocket knife, 1932, from switch (n.) + blade. So called for the "switch" which is pressed to spring the knife open. Earlier a similar tool was known as an Arkansas toothpick (1837) and a clasp-knife (1755).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper