{{11}}jack-knife (n.) also jackknife, large pocket knife, 1711, probably Amer.Eng., "perh[aps] associated with some sense of JACK sb.1, but Cf. jackleg knife" [OED]; see JACK (Cf. jack) + KNIFE (Cf. knife) (n.). Jackleg was a U.S. colloquial term of contempt from c.1850. On another theory, so called because it originally was associated with sailors. As a kind of swimming dive, from 1922. As a type of tractor-trailer accident, 1966. Both from the notion of folding, as the knife does.
{{12}}jack-knife (v.) 1776, "to stab," from JACK-KNIFE (Cf. jack-knife) (n.). Intransitive meaning "to fold or bend" the body is said to date from the time of the American Civil War. The truck accident verbal sense is from 1949. Related: Jackknifed; jackknifing.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • jack-knife — jack knife1 plural jack knives n 1.) a knife with a blade that folds into its handle 2.) a ↑dive in which you bend at the waist when you are in the air jack knife 2 jack knife2 v [I] if a large vehicle with two parts jack knifes, it slides out of …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • jack|knife — «JAK NYF», noun, plural knives, verb, knifed, knif|ing, adjective. –n. 1. a large, strong pocketknife. 2. a kind of dive in which the diver, keeping his knees straight, touches his feet with hi hands in midair and straightens out before entering… …   Useful english dictionary

  • jack-knife — 1. noun a) A compact folding knife. He kept a jack knife in his pocket for various tasks. b) The front dive pike, in which the body folds and unfolds. It took me hundreds of dives to master even the simple jackknife …   Wiktionary

  • jack-knife — jack knifes, jack knifing, jack knifed VERB If a truck that is in two parts jack knifes, the back part swings around at a sharp angle to the front part in an uncontrolled way as the truck is moving. His vehicle jack knifed, and crashed across all …   English dictionary

  • jack knife — knife which folds into the handle …   English contemporary dictionary

  • jack-knife — 1 noun plural jack knives, (C) 1 a knife with a blade that folds into its handle 2 a dive 2 (1) in which you bend at the waist when you are in the air 2 verb jack knifing, jack knifed (I) if a large vehicle with two parts jack knifes, the back… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • jack knife — The action of a vehicle (tractor) with a trailer in which the trailer and the vehicle form a V instead of normally being pulled in a straight line. Usually this is the result of a skid in which the trailer swings around dangerously and tries to… …   Dictionary of automotive terms

  • Jack-Knife Gypsy — Infobox Album | Name = Jack Knife Gypsy Type = Album Artist = Paul Siebel Released = June, 1971 Recorded = 1971 Genre = Country rock/Folk rock Length = 37:44 Label = Elektra (42076), Line (900951) Producer = Robert W. Zachary Reviews = *Allmusic… …   Wikipedia

  • The Jack-Knife Man — Infobox Film name = The Jack Knife Man image size = caption = director = King Vidor producer = King Vidor writer = Ellis Parker Butler William Parker narrator = starring = F. A. Turner music = cinematography = Ira H. Morgan editing = distributor …   Wikipedia

  • jack — [ (d)ʒak ] n. m. • 1870; mot angl. ♦ Anglic. 1 ♦ Techn. Pièce commandant les aiguilles dans une machine de bonneterie. 2 ♦ (1880 jack knife [ dʒaknajf ] ) Commutateur de standard téléphonique manuel. Fiche mâle, à deux conducteurs coaxiaux. ⊗ HOM …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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