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
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)