from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One whose business it is to grind or sharpen knives; especially, one who goes about seeking for employment in sharpening cutting-instruments: in the United States more commonly called a scissorsgrinder.
  • noun A grindstone, emery-wheel, or other machine for grinding knives.
  • noun The night-jar: same as grinder, 3.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word knife-grinder.


  • A few doors from the bakery, a knife-grinder was set - ting up his display cases along the sidewalk.

    Stalling 2010

  • The patrician and the knife-grinder, the duke and the peer, the limb of the law, the courtiers and townspeople, as they used to say in olden times, all are subjects of this fairy.

    Les Miserables 2008

  • A knife-grinder came and set up his stall right next to my tree.

    THE WHITE TIGER Aravind Adiga 2008

  • He is not a working man because he is not a man; he is not any workman anybody has ever known; he is not the funny Irish bricklayer you talked to when you were a little boy; he is not the plumber or the mysterious plumber's mate; he is not the gardener, who was rather cross; he is not the needy knife-grinder or the romantic rat-catcher.

    G.K. Speaks - About the Workers 2007

  • Crosbie had not been treated as the needy knife-grinder, and had ground to stand upon while he urged his request.

    The Last Chronicle of Barset 2004

  • I am like the knife-grinder, who had no story to tell — none at least to be told.

    Phineas Finn 2004

  • They were a motley crew, but none the less dangerous for that, I reflected, making my way through a knot of men gathered round an itinerant knife-grinder, who was sharpening dirks, razors, and scythes with perfect indifference.

    Dragonfly in Amber Gabaldon, Diana 1992

  • A few doors from the bakery, a knife-grinder was set - ting up his display cases along the sidewalk.

    Kendermore Kirchoff, Mary 1989

  • Their ancestors traced back to Charles II, mine traced back to a Victorian knife-grinder.

    Hot Money Francis, Dick 1987

  • A fly would patter in brisk spurts, followed by a pause while it washed its hands - a dull rasping sound like a knife-grinder at work.

    My Family and Other Animals Durrell, Gerald, 1925- 1956


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.