Etymology
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penknife (n.)

also pen-knife, "small pocket-knife," early 15c., penne-knif, from pen (n.1) + knife (n.). So called because such small knives were used to make and mend quill pens.

updated on March 21, 2020

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Definitions of penknife from WordNet

penknife (n.)
a small pocketknife; originally used to cut quill pens;
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.