9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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
  • Your talent obviously has a knack of flaring emotions in your readers.
  • They had, and have, the homegrown stuff of citizens and the knack of a popular movement.
  • He also has a knack of shaming others into following suit.
  • The new digital cameras have an uncanny knack for seeing in the dark.
  • The unskilled, third-world refugee must find within himself a knack for patience.
  • Call it a knack for seeing the potential in something others have cast away.
  • Your knack for jigsaw puzzles could revolutionize national defense.
  • And they have an uncanny knack for honing in on the essence of a report to find the error.
  • And for all the chaos he creates around him, he has a knack of getting things done.
  • Green is a raven-haired beauty with a marvelous knack for gardening.
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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