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See also: Knack and knäck



Use as "special skill" from 1580.[1] Possibly from 14th century Middle English krak (a sharp blow), knakke, knakken, from Middle Low German, by onomatopoeia. Latter cognate to German knacken (to crack). See also crack.



knack (plural knacks)

  1. A readiness in performance; aptness at doing something
    Synonyms: skill, facility, dexterity
    • 2005, Plato, Sophist. Translation by Lesley Brown. 254a.
      The sophist runs for cover to the darkness of what is not and attaches himself to it by some knack of his;
    • 2011 October 2, Jonathan Jurejko, “Bolton 1–5 Chelsea”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      And the Premier League's all-time top-goalscoring midfielder proved he has not lost the knack of being in the right place at the right time with a trio of clinical finishes.
  2. A petty contrivance; a toy; a plaything; a knickknack.
  3. Something performed, or to be done, requiring aptness and dexterity; a trick; a device.



knack (third-person singular simple present knacks, present participle knacking, simple past and past participle knacked)

  1. (obsolete, Britain, dialect) To crack; to make a sharp, abrupt noise; to chink.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Bishop Hall to this entry?)
  2. To speak affectedly.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Halliwell to this entry?)



  1. ^ knack” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2018.