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

  • transitive v. To break or chip (stone) with sharp blows, as in shaping flint or obsidian into tools.
  • transitive v. Chiefly British To strike sharply; rap.
  • transitive v. Chiefly British To snap at or bite.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To shape a vitreous mineral (flint, obsidian, chert etc.) by breaking away flakes, often forming a sharp edge or point.
  • v. To rap or strike sharply.
  • n. A sharp blow or slap.
  • n. The crest of a hill
  • n. A small hill

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A protuberance; a swelling; a knob; a button; hence, rising ground; a summit. See knob, and knop.
  • n. A sharp blow or slap.
  • intransitive v. To make a sound of snapping.
  • transitive v. To bite; to bite off; to break short.
  • transitive v. To strike smartly; to rap; to snap.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To strike with a sharp noise.
  • To snap; crack; break in pieces with blows: as, to knap stones.
  • To bite; bite off; nibble.
  • To make a short sharp sound.
  • To talk short.
  • n. A short sharp noise; a snap.
  • n. A stroke; blow.
  • n. A clapper.
  • n. A protuberance; a swelling; a knob or button.
  • n. A rising ground; a knoll; a hillock; a summit.
  • n. The bud of a flower.
  • n. The flower of the common clover, Trifolium pratense.

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

  • v. break a small piece off from
  • v. strike sharply


Middle English knappen, probably of imitative origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English knappen, an onomatopeia (Wiktionary)
Middle English, from Old English cnæp, akin to cnotta 'knot' (Wiktionary)



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  • You have a strange job.

    October 29, 2007

  • I remember this delightful word from stage combat training. It's the sound of being "struck," usually made by the victim rather than the aggressor (with notable exceptions), to complete the illusion of there being actual contact.

    Nowadays I hear guys at work using the word to describe chipping a flint into the proper shape/size for use in a musket.

    October 29, 2007