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The recent movie release “Knives Out” looks fun, quirky and highly entertaining. It’s a modern take on an old-fashioned whodunit. I just scored my early viewing tickets for tonight, so I’m psyched. But it got me thinking about what the title really means. I did a little digging and added some interesting new knife phrases to my vocabulary.

By Margaret Kavanagh

First, don’t worry, I won’t tell you the ending after I see the movie. I remember when someone spoiled “The Sixth Sense” and it blows.

Okay, so, the phrase “knives out” is a mainly British phrase and it means that the situation isn’t good. In fact, there’s open hostility, as in, “The knives are out for him since he’s been bad-mouthing our best friend.”

I picture that everyone has their “knives out,” ready to take a stab at someone who has pissed everyone off. (This movie sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun!)

More Sharp Phrases

While I was checking out “knives out” I found a lot of fun phrases that use knives to make a point. (See what I did there?)

knife phrases image

The hotter a knife is, the faster it cuts through cool butter. Image courtesy of Amazon.

Here’s a list of some of them, and what they mean:

πŸ”ͺ a knife in the back – an act of treachery or betrayal

πŸ”ͺ go under the knifehave surgery

πŸ”ͺ not the sharpest knife in the drawernot too smart, dimwitted

πŸ”ͺ twist the knife – to deliberately make the situation worse

πŸ”ͺ you can cut the tension with a knife – the situation is so stressful it was on the edge of erupting into conflict

πŸ”ͺ bring a knife to a gunfight – to come poorly prepared

πŸ”ͺ like a hot knife through butter – quicky and easily

πŸ”ͺ long knife – an assassin

πŸ”ͺ night of the long knives – a series of ruthless actions

πŸ”ͺ have your knife into someone – make someone’s life more difficult

It’s not surprising that we use the word “knife” in a lot of phrases since we use knives so regularly as tools in our lives.

(And by the way, the movie was GREAT! It kept me guessing all the way through, even though I thought I had it figured out about 4 or 5 times.)


Do you have a knife phrase you use commonly? How about one we haven’t listed here? Let us know in the comments!