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[nak] /næk/
a special skill, talent, or aptitude:
He had a knack for saying the right thing.
a clever or adroit way of doing something.
a trick or ruse.
a sharp, cracking sound.
Archaic. a knickknack; trinket.
Origin of knack
1325-75; Middle English: trick; perhaps same word as knak sharp-sounding blow, rap, cracking noise (imitative)
1. aptness, facility, dexterity. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for knack
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Some years ago I could deliver a heavy punch and the knack had 31stayed with me.

    The Blue Wall Richard Washburn Child
  • Nothing is more important to good teaching than the knack of apt illustration.

    College Teaching Paul Klapper
  • It was horrid of you: but you always had a knack of rubbing one up the wrong way.

  • The Moors brought the knack from the ancient city of Damascus.

  • No, more do I. Odd, isn't it, what a knack women have for taking care of sick folks?

    Eight Cousins Louisa M. Alcott
British Dictionary definitions for knack


a skilful, ingenious, or resourceful way of doing something
a particular talent or aptitude, esp an intuitive one
Word Origin
C14: probably variant of knak sharp knock, rap, of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for knack

mid-14c., "deception, trick, device," of uncertain origin, probably from a Low German word meaning "a sharp sounding blow" (cf. Middle English knak, late 14c.; German knacken "to crack"), of imitative origin. Sense of "special skill" is first recorded 1580s, if this is in fact the same word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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