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From Low German knapzak or Dutch knapzak (older form cnapsack), from Middle Dutch cnappen (to bite with teeth), ultimately from knappen (to eat, crack), of imitative origin, + sack. German Knappsack is from Dutch.


knapsack (plural knapsacks)

  1. (chiefly US) A case of canvas or leather, for carrying items on the back.
    • 1891, Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, volume 1, London: James R. Osgood, McIlvaine and Co., page 23:
      The two elder reluctantly left him and walked on, taking their brother's knapsack to relieve him in following, and the youngest entered the field.
  2. (cryptography) A set of values from which a subset is chosen.




knapsack (third-person singular simple present knapsacks, present participle knapsacking, simple past and past participle knapsacked)

  1. To go hiking while burdened with a knapsack, usually overnight or for longer.
    My sleeping bag fell off my backpack into the water, while we were knapsacking up the mountain.


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