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

  • n. Chiefly British A person who buys worn-out or old livestock and slaughters them to sell the meat or hides.
  • n. Chiefly British A person who buys discarded structures and dismantles them to sell the materials.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who makes knickknacks, toys, etc.
  • n. One of two or more pieces of bone or wood held loosely between the fingers, and struck together by moving the hand; a clapper.
  • n. A harness maker.
  • n. One who slaughters and (especially) renders worn-out livestock (especially horses) and sells their flesh, bones and hides.
  • n. One who dismantles old ships, houses etc., and sells their components.
  • n. A member of the Travelling Community; a Gypsy.
  • n. A person of lower social class; a chav, skanger or scobe.
  • v. To tire out, become exhausted.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who makes knickknacks, toys, etc.
  • n. One of two or more pieces of bone or wood held loosely between the fingers, and struck together by moving the hand; -- called also clapper.
  • n. a harness maker.
  • n. One who slaughters worn-out horses and sells their flesh for dog's meat.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. That which knacks or knocks; in the plural, two pieces of wood or bone used as a plaything by boys, who strike them together by moving the hand; castanets; bones.
  • n. A maker of knacks, toys, or small work.
  • n. A collar- and harness-maker, employed chiefly by farmers.
  • n. Acolliers' horse.
  • n. One whose occupation is the slaughtering of diseased or useless horses; also, one who deals in such horses, whether for use or slaughter.
  • n. A man who dismantles and sells the materials of old houses, ships, etc.

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

  • n. someone who buys up old horses for slaughter
  • n. someone who buys old buildings or ships and breaks them up to recover the materials in them


Probably of Scandinavian origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old Norse hnak ("saddle"), hur ("horse") − the profession of saddlemaker. (Wiktionary)


  • My solutions: Compulsory sterilisation of the criminal and feckless classes (using a three strikes and out policy for any offences other than motoring), no welfare BUT workfare for the fit and healthy (being a fat knacker is not an excuse as regular work and exercise will have a beneficial effect), combined with regular drug testing.

    Easy Come, Easy Go! Geddit? « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • One defintion of a knacker is "a person who purchases or hauls away livestock carcasses for processing into tallow, hides, fertilizer, etc."

    Green Tomato Finale

  • A 'knacker' is one who slaughters worn-out livestock and sells their flesh, bones and hides.

    Irish Blogs

  • If you get get pissed and act like a knacker at a Wedding/Wake then you should be disciplined.

    Sunday Post, Ruralshire, England. « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • I would dearly love to spend the time on the 20% of decent, honest, genuine victims but I really dont have the time due to having to trace knacker Ned to update him on how the investigation into his complaint of “theft of giro” is coming along.

    How “Police Performance” Fraud Works. « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • • Good news, finally, for at last Britain along with the United States and France is to have an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean – hooray for HMS Invincible: on her way to a knacker's yard in Turkey.

    Hugh Muir's diary

  • They know that if they mention the word ‘knife’, ‘threats’, ‘assault’ when they ring us to make the latest complaint against whichever knacker has incurred their displeasure, they will get a quicker response and it will have to be treated more seriously.

    *NEW* The Self-Generated Reg.9 « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • He likes to knacker himself completely before a long flight.

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb: the prophet of boom and doom « Isegoria

  • Problem is that he has to get down with Karl Lagefeld though at least hes lost the lard-remember when he was a fat knacker??

    Dlisted - Be Very Afraid

  • Five-hour meetings of Full Council knacker me, and do next-to-nothing for my residents.

    Archive 2007-01-01


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  • Also a verb, informal, meaning "to bugger up" (often from over-use) or wear out. E.g. "I told Darren if he kept riding his scooter off the kerb like that, he'd knacker it. But did he listen, the little tyke?" Or "let's get take-away tonight dear, the kids have knackered me right out today."

    November 8, 2007