Definition of knife noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//naɪf//
; NAmE NAmE//naɪf//
At the dining table
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  •   (pl. knives
    BrE BrE//naɪvz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//naɪvz//
    a sharp blade with a handle, used for cutting or as a weapon knives and forks a sharp knife a bread knife (= one for cutting bread) He had been stabbed repeatedly with a kitchen knife. She was murdered in a frenzied knife attack. see also flick knife, jackknife, palette knife, paperknife, penknife, Stanley knife™ More Like This Silent letters gnarled, gnash, gnat, gnaw, gnome haute cuisine, heir, (NAmE herb), honour, hors d’oeuvre, hour knack, knee, kneel, knife, knight, knit, knob, knock, knot, know, knuckle psalm, psephology, psychic, ptarmigan, pterodactyl, psychology wrangle, wrap, wreath, wreck, wrench, wrestle, wriggle, wring, write, wrong bomb, climb, crumb, doubt, lamb, limb ascent, fascinate, muscle, scene, scissors height, right, sleigh, weight align, campaign, design, foreign, malign, reign, unfeigned balmy, calm, calf, half, yolk autumn, column, condemn, damn, hymn, solemn bristle, fasten, listen, mortgage, soften, thistle, wrestle biscuit, build, circuit, disguise, guilty, league, rogue, vague yacht answer, sword, twoSee worksheet. See related entries: At the dining table
  • Word Originlate Old English cnīf, from Old Norse knífr, of Germanic origin.Extra examples Each word he uttered was a knife in her heart. He and his gang had a knife fight one night. He is to go under the surgeon’s knife again on Thursday. He plunged the knife deep into her heart. He pressed the knife tighter against her throat. He suddenly pulled a knife on me. He was slumped over his desk with a knife protruding from his back. He waved his knife in her face threateningly. Just to twist the knife , the filmmakers have provided a surprise ending. She carries a knife in her bag now. She felt a knife slice her wrist open. She picked up her knife and fork and started to eat. She pointed her knife at Richard. She put the knife to his throat to frighten him into silence. She stabbed him in the back with a 12-inch knife. That knife doesn’t cut very well—it needs sharpening. The lines can be cut with a craft knife. Use a sharp knife to cut away the spare dough. a frenzied knife attack a set of kitchen knives A sharp carving knife is essential when carving any joint. Chuck drew his hunting knife from its sheath. Sara placed her knife and fork neatly on the plate. The raider threatened him with a 6-inch kitchen knife before escaping. a butter/​steak knife a kitchen/​carving/​hunting knifeIdioms
    the knives are out (for somebody)
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    the situation has become so bad that people are preparing to make one person take the blame, for example by taking away their job The knives are out for the chancellor.
    like a knife through butter
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    (informal) easily; without meeting any difficulty
    put/stick the knife in, put/stick the knife into somebody
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    (informal) to be very unfriendly to somebody and try to harm them
    turn/twist the knife (in the wound)
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    to say or do something unkind deliberately; to make somebody who is unhappy feel even more unhappy Marcia laughed as she twisted the knife still deeper. See related entries: Describing unpleasant traits
    (informal) having a medical operation See related entries: Operations
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: knife