Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A small pocketknife.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small pocketknife; a small knife with a blade which folds into the hand. Penknives often incorporate other tools such as corkscrews, and are generally smaller than pocketknives as a group.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small pocketknife; formerly, a knife used for making and mending quill pens.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A small pocket-knife: so called from its former use in making and mending quill pens.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a small pocketknife; originally used to cut quill pens

Etymologies

So called because it was originally used for cutting quill pens.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
originally a small knife used for cutting the nib of a quill pen (Wiktionary)

Examples

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