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See also: Shiv


A Soviet-era Russian shiv.

Alternative forms[edit]


First attested 1915. From chive, chieve, chife, chiv (knife), from Romani chive, chiv, chivvomengro (knife, dagger, blade).[1][2][3][4]


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shiv (plural shivs)

  1. A knife, especially a makeshift one fashioned from something not normally used as a weapon (like a plastic spoon or a toothbrush).
  2. A particular woody by-product of processing flax or hemp.


  • (improvised stabbing weapon): shank (slang)



shiv (third-person singular simple present shivs, present participle shivving, simple past and past participle shivved)

  1. To stab someone with a shiv.
  2. (by extension) To stab someone with anything not normally used as a stabbing weapon.


shank (slang)



  1. ^ shiv” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2017, retrieved 6 July 2017: “"a razor," 1915, variant of chive, thieves' cant word for "knife" (1670s), of unknown origin.”.
  2. ^ shiv” in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1996–, retrieved 6 July 2017: “Alteration of chiv, of unknown origin. First known use: 1915”.
  3. ^ shiv” in Michael Agnes, editor-in-chief, Webster's New World College Dictionary, 4th edition, Cleveland, Oh.: Wiley, 2010, ISBN 978-0-02-863118-9; reproduced on the Collins English Dictionary, Glasgow: HarperCollins Publishers, retrieved 6 July 2017: “Word origin of 'shiv': earlier chiv, prob. < Romany chiv, blade”.
  4. ^ shiv” (US) / “shiv” (UK) in Oxford Dictionaries, Oxford University Press. "Probably from Romany chiv ‘blade’."