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See also: pocket knife


an assortment of pocketknives
Example of a pocket knife design that incorporates an elaborate tool set

Alternative forms[edit]


From pocket + knife.


pocketknife (plural pocketknives)

  1. A knife with blades or tools that the user can fold or retract into its handle, and of a size small enough for carrying safely and handily in a pocket. Since the late 19th century the term "penknife" has not been distinct from "pocketknife", but the latter tends to refer to larger and more robust versions, sometimes with more attached tools, suited to heavier duty for casual or ad hoc applications outdoors or in workshops.
    • 1878, Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer Abroad; About Magnanimous-Incident Literature:
      Jimmy had a pocketknife, and he wandered into the drawing-room with it one day, alone, and reduced ten thousand dollars' worth of furniture to an indeterminable value in rather less than three-quarters of an hour.
    • 1944, Alfred Lief, Camillus: The Story of an American Small Business[1]:
      The Army, the Navy, the Maritime Commission, and Lend-Lease demanded more and more pocketknives — for demolition kits, medical kits, aviators’ kits, electricians’ kits; knives with tools, knives with marlin spikes. The pocketknife attained a new status — as indispensable equipment for all men in uniform.



See also[edit]