Etymology
Advertisement
whittle (v.)
1550s, "to cut thin shavings from (something) with a knife," from Middle English whittel "a knife," especially a large one (c. 1400), variant of thwittle (late 14c.), from Old English þwitan "to cut," from Proto-Germanic *thwit- (source also of Old Norse þveita "to hew"), from PIE root *twei- "to agitate, shake, toss" (see seismo-). Figurative sense is attested from 1746. Related: Whittled; whittling.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
paring (n.)

late 14c., "act of trimming" something, also "that which is pared off;" verbal noun from pare (v.). Paring-knife is attested from 1590s.

Related entries & more 
buckhorn (n.)
also buck-horn, "substance of the horns of a deer," used in making knife-handles, etc., 1610s, from buck (n.1) + horn (n.).
Related entries & more 
mumblety-peg (n.)

boys' knife-throwing game, 1650s, originally mumble-the-peg (1620s), of unknown signification and origin. The usual story is that it is so called because "The last player to complete the series is compelled to draw out of the ground with his teeth a peg which the others have driven in with a certain number of blows with the handle of the knife" [Century Dictionary]; see mumble (v.) in the original sense "eat in a slow, inefficient manner."

Related entries & more 
Spackle (n.)
proprietary name for a surfacing compound, 1927, probably based on German spachtel "putty knife, mastic, filler." The verb is attested from 1940. Related: Spackled; spackling.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
carving (n.)
c. 1200, "the action of cutting," verbal noun from carve. From late 14c. as "action of carving meat at the table," also "carved work, something carved." Carving-knife is from early 15c.
Related entries & more 
machete (n.)

"heavy knife or cutlass," used as a weapon and tool by the Spanish in the Americas, 1590s (in pseudo-Spanish form macheto), from Spanish machete "a chopping knife," probably a diminutive of macho "sledge hammer," alteration of mazo "club," which is probably [Barnhart] a dialectal variant of maza "mallet," from Vulgar Latin *mattea "war club" (see mace (n.1)). An alternative explanation traces macho to Latin marculus "a small hammer," diminutive of marcus "hammer," from a base parallel to that of Latin malleus (see mallet).

Related entries & more 
eraser (n.)
"thing that erases writing," 1790, American English, agent noun from erase. Originally a knife for scraping off the ink. As a rubber product for removing pencil marks, from 1858.
Related entries & more 
coulter (n.)

also colter, "iron blade or sharp-edged wheel attached to the beam of a plow to cut the ground," Old English culter, from Latin culter "a knife, iron blade in a plowshare," from PIE root *skel- (1) "to cut." As a surname (13c.), probably from Coulter in Lancashire.

Related entries & more 
prune (v.)

late 14c., prouynen, proinen, of a bird, "to trim the feathers with the beak;" of a person, "to dress or groom oneself carefully," from an extended or transferred sense of Old French proignier, poroindre "cut back (vines), prune" (Modern French provigner), a word of unknown origin. Compare preen, which seems to be a variant of this word that kept the original senses.

The main modern sense of "lop superfluous twigs or branches from" is from 1540s, perhaps a separate borrowing of the French word. It is earlier in English in a general sense of "lop off as superfluous or injurious" (early 15c.).

Perhaps [Watkins] from Gallo-Roman *pro-retundiare "cut in a rounded shape in front," from pro "forth" (see pro-) + *retundiare "round off," from Latin rotundus (see round (adj.)). Klein suggests the Old French word is from provain "layer of a vine," from Latin propago (see prop (n.1)).

Related: Pruned; pruning. Pruning hook, knife with a hooked blade used for pruning plants, is from 1610s; pruning knife, knife with a curved blade, is from 1580s.

Related entries & more 

Page 3