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[nap-sak] /ˈnæpˌsæk/
a canvas, nylon, or leather bag for clothes, food, and other supplies, carried on the back by soldiers, hikers, etc.
Origin of knapsack
1595-1605; < Low German knappsack, equivalent to knapp a bite (of food) + sack sack1; compare dialectal English knap to snap up, eat greedily
Related forms
knapsacked, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for knapsack
  • The knapsack was taken to the precinct with the defendant.
  • The next morning, appellant discovered that his car had been broken into and the knapsack and its contents stolen.
  • He shuffles dog-eared bits of paper from a shabby file in his knapsack and writes down the questions he is asked.
  • Or stick a copy in your knapsack and pull it out on your next camping trip.
  • Clipped onto a belt or carried in a knapsack, the entire generator is contained within a regular battery casing.
  • Most collectors bring a pail or knapsack to carry their finds in areas where some hiking is required.
  • The photographer reaches into his knapsack for his camera.
  • For example, if a knapsack came into evidence, a photograph was provided of the knapsack.
  • Youre talking as if a knapsack is going across the border from time to time, carried on one persons back.
  • If you use a knapsack, make sure it is securely closed.
British Dictionary definitions for knapsack


a canvas or leather bag carried strapped on the back or shoulder
Word Origin
C17: from Low German knappsack, probably from knappen to bite, snap + sack bag; related to Dutch knapzak; see sack1
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 knapsack

c.1600, from Low German Knapsack (Dutch knapzak), probably from knappen "to eat" literally "to crack, snap" + Sack "bag" (see sack (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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