Etymology
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spud (n.)
mid-15c., "small or poor knife," of uncertain origin probably related to Danish spyd, Old Norse spjot "spear," German Spiess "spear, lance"). Meaning "spade" is from 1660s; sense of "short or stumpy person or thing" is from 1680s; that of "potato" is first recorded 1845 in New Zealand English.
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spald (v.)
c. 1400, "to splinter, chip" (transitive; spalding-knife is from mid-14c.), of uncertain origin, perhaps from Middle Dutch spalden, cognate with Middle Low German spalden, Old High German spaltan, German spalten "to split" (see spill (v.)). The later form of the verb is spall (1758), from or by influence of the noun. Related: Spalled; spalling.
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glyph (n.)

1727, "ornamental groove in sculpture or architecture," from French glyphe (1701), from Greek glyphē "a carving," from glyphein "to hollow out, cut out with a knife, engrave, carve," also "to note down" on tablets, from PIE root *gleubh- "to cut, slice, tear apart." Meaning "sculpted mark or symbol" (as in hieroglyph) is from 1825. Related: Glyphic.

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castrate (v.)

"to deprive of the testicles, emasculate," 1610s (implied in castrated), back-formation from castration (q.v.), or from Latin castratus, past participle of castrare "to castrate, emasculate; to prune," supposedly from a noun *castrum "knife, instrument that cuts," from PIE root *kes- "to cut." The figurative sense "destroy the strength or vitality of" is attested earlier (1550s). Related: Castrating.

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graft (n.1)

"shoot inserted into another plant," late 15c. alteration of Middle English graff (late 14c.), from Old French graife "grafting knife, carving tool; stylus, pen," from Latin graphium "stylus," from Greek grapheion "stylus," from graphein "to write" (see -graphy). So called probably on resemblance of a stylus to the pencil-shaped shoots used in grafting. The terminal -t in the English word is not explained. Surgical sense is from 1871.

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cliff-hanger (n.)

also cliffhanger, "suspenseful situation," 1950, a transferred use from an earlier meaning "movie serial" (1937), from cliff + hang (v.). In some U.S. continued-next-week silent cinema serials in the "Perils of Pauline" days, the episode often ended with the heroine "hanging over a cliff from a fraying rope through which the villain was sawing with a dull knife, to be saved by Crane Wilbur or Milton Sills" [Collier's magazine, July 6, 1946].

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dudgeon (n.)

"feeling of offense, resentment, sullen anger," 1570s, duggin, of unknown origin. One suggestion is Italian aduggiare "to overshadow," giving it the same sense development as umbrage. No clear connection to earlier dudgeon (late 14c.), a kind of wood used for knife handles, which is perhaps from French douve "a stave," which probably is Germanic. The source also has been sought in Celtic, especially Welsh dygen "malice, resentment," but OED reports that this "appears to be historically and phonetically baseless."

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palette (n.)

1620s, "flat, thin tablet, with a hole at one end for the thumb, used by an artist to lay and mix colors," from French palette, from Old French palete "small shovel, blade" (13c.) diminutive of pale "shovel, blade," from Latin pala "spade, shoulder blade," probably from PIE *pag-slo-, suffixed form of root *pag- "to fasten." Transferred sense of "colors used by a particular artist" is from 1882. Palette-knife, originally one used by artists for mixing colors, is attested by 1759.

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putty (n.)

1630s, "type of plasterer's fine paste or cement," from French potée "polishing powder" (12c.), originally "pot-full, contents of a pot," from Old French pot "container" (see pot (n.1)).

From 1660s as "powder used for polishing glass or metals." The meaning "soft pasty mixture for sealing window panes" is recorded by 1706. Figurative use in reference to one easily influenced is from 1924. Putty knife, one with a blunt, flexible blade, used by glaziers, etc., for laying on putty, is attested from 1834.

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mattock (n.)

"instrument for loosening soil in digging, shaped like a pickaxe but with broad instead of pointed ends," Middle English mattok, from Old English mttoc, formerly said to be probably from Vulgar Latin *matteuca "club," which is related to Latin mateola, a kind of mallet (see mace (n.1)), but this is not certain, and synonymous Russian motyka, Polish motyka, Lithuanian matikas, as well as  Old High German medela "plow," Middle High German metz "knife" suggest rather a PIE *mat- as source of the Latin, Germanic, and Slavic words. OED says similar words in Welsh and Gaelic are from English.

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