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switchblade

[swich-bleyd]
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noun
  1. a pocketknife, the blade of which is held by a spring and can be released suddenly, as by pressing a button.
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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. 2018

Related Words for switchblade

bayonet, dagger, blade, sword, skewer, machete, sickle, cutter, scalpel, pistol, bomb, gun, missile, cannon, rifle, ammunition, firearm, knife, shotgun, revolver

Examples from the Web for switchblade

Historical Examples of switchblade

  • 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

  • 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

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


British Dictionary definitions for switchblade

switchblade

switchblade knife

noun
  1. US and Canadian a knife with a retractable blade that springs out when a button is pressed
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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

n.

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper