ver·bi·age /ˈvərbē-ij/ - noun: excessively technical expressions or speech that uses too many words...We've compiled a pretty good list here for you to find the meanings of common knife terms used throughout the cutlery industry. If the glossary doesn't have a word you are looking for, call us and we will find the definition for you and add it to our list of terms.
154CM Steel: The American equivalent of the ATS-34 premium grade stainless steel made exclusively in Japan, owned by Hitachi Steels. Commonly used in high quality tactical folding knives and collectible knives.
1055 Carbon Steel: A Cold Steel Favorite - 1055 steel is right on the border between a medium and a high carbon steel, as this steel is particularly suited to applications where strength and impact resistance is valued above all other considerations and will produce blades of almost legendary toughness.
1095 Steel: Plain carbon steel used in knife making. Easy steel to sharpen.
4116 Krupp Stainless Steel: 4116 is a fine grained, stainless steel made by ThyssenKrupp in Germany and is used for hygienic applications (medical devices and the pharmaceutical industry) and food processing which make it a superb material for kitchen cutlery. The balance of carbon and chromium content give it a high degree of corrosion resistance and also impressive physical characteristics of strength and edge holding. Edge retention in actual cutting tests exceeded blades made of the 420 and 440 series of stainless steels. Other alloying elements contribute to grain refinement which increase blade strength and edge toughness and also allow for a finer, sharper edge.
420J2 Steel: An ideal knife blade that will be subject to high temperatures, humidity and corrosives such as salt. Does not require much care or maintenance.
440A Steel: High-Carbon stainless steel used in the production of many knives.
ABS: A black amorphous thermoplastic terpolymer with high impact strength.
Alligator Clip: Small clip used on the back of the badges, sometimes used to attach small knives to clothing or belt.
Alumite: A coating used on aluminum handles similar to anodizing. Resistant to scratching and marring, it can also be tinted to any color for visual appeal.
Alumina Ceramic: The compound used for Spyderco sharpening stones. It is a ceramic-bonding agent mixed with alumina particles (synthetic sapphires), shaped, then kiln fired at temperatures in excess of 3000 degrees F.
Ambidextrous: Using both hands with equal ease. Pertaining to knives, it is a knife that is not solely designed for a left-or right-handed person but can be used with equal ease by both hands.
Anodized Aluminum: Subjecting aluminum to electrolytic action which coats the aluminum with a protective and decorative film.
Anodizing: An electro-chemical coating altering appearance & improving texture.
ATS-34 Steel: A premium grade of stainless steel made exclusively in Japan, owned by Hitachi Steels. Commonly used in high quality tactical folding knives and collectible knives. The American equivalent is 154CM steel.
AUS-8 Steel: A high carbon, low chromium stainless steel that is a very good compromise between toughness, strength, edge holding and resistance to corrosion.
Axis Lock: A very strong locking mechanism that is totally ambidextrous. The blade can be opened or closed without ever having to put your finger in harms way.
Back: The back of the blade is the side opposite of the belly (edge) of the knife and is usually unsharpened.
Back Lock: Locking system positioned on the spine of the handle that uses a rocker arm, which pivots in the center. A notch on one end of the arm connects with a notch on the blade's tang, locking the blade open.
Balisong/Butterfly: A knife design believed to have originated in the UK, brought to the Philippines by English sailors, and was adopted and popularized in the Philippines. Often used in Filipino martial arts. The knife has two separate handle sections that rotate round the blade's pivots to create a handle and then rotate back covering and protecting the blade when closed.
Ball Bearing Lock: A compressive lock wedging a stainless steel ball bearing between a fixed anvil and the blade tang. The ball is also utilized to detent the blade into the closed position.
Ballistic Cloth: A heavy, nylon material used for knife sheaths.
Batch: Refers to a knife model that is made in small numbers.
Bead Blasting: A process in which steel, titanium and aluminum are finished. Commonly used on tactical folding knives and fixed or bowie knife blades. Bead blasting creates a subdued, non-glare finish.
Belly: The knife belly is the curving part of the blade edge which is sharpened. The belly of the knife can be plain or serrated.
Bi-Directional Texturing: A texture molded into an FRN handle, which is a series of graduating, sized forward and backward steps that radiate outward from the center of the handle. This texture provides resistance to slipping and sliding when gripped in the hand.
Black Oxide: A coating used mostly on military knives to avoid reflection.
Black-Ti: A thin, black coating (3 micron) of titanium carbonitride, provides corrosion resistance.
Blade Spine: The thickest part of the knife blade. Usually the back of the blade on standard knives, but can be down the middle of the blade on double-edged blades.
Block Lock: A folder lock has a spring loaded block located on the center pin. The block extends into a hole in the tang to lock the blade into an open position.
Bolster: A piece of metal, generally nickel silver or stainless steel, that is located at one or both ends of a folding knife handle.
Boltaron: A recycled ABS/acrylic PVS extruded alloy sheet material used for making sheaths. It has excellent impact strength and abrasion, chemical, and fire resistance properties.
Bone Handle: The most common material for pocket knives handles, Bone Knife Handles are created from naturally deceased animals. Common bone handle types are pickbone or jigged bone, and can be dyed for different colors.
Bowie-Shape: A blade with an upswept, curving tip that is double-edged near the point. It is named for Colonel James Bowie who made this shape famous in the 19th century American west.
Butt: Also known as the Pommel. The very end of a bowie knife. Many butts and pommels are designed for hammering or bonecrushing. Other butts and pommels are decorative and can contain a lanyard hole. Some knife pommels and butts butts are designed are removable so additional items can be stored in the knife handle.
Burr: Raised and curled lip of the metal that forms on the edge during sharpening. Burr always forms on the opposite side of the sharpened side of the edge. You can see it of feel it with your fingertip.
Caping: A term to describe the careful and detailed cutting and removing of the hide from a game animal for the purpose of taxidermy. More precisely it refers to removing the skin from the head, shoulders and neck.
Carbide: A hard, sharp carbon or iron material used where a very hard material is needed such as in machining or drilling steel. Spyderco uses carbide to make the glass breaking tip found on the C79 Assist model.
Carbon Fiber: Graphite fibers (the size of a human hair) are woven together and fused in epoxy resin. It's lightweight, three-dimensional in appearance and is a superior (and expensive) handle material.
Carbon V: Carbon V steel is a very clean, fine grained material with a high carbon content for toughness and response to heat treatment. Excels in edge holding ability.
Chakma: Burnishing tool for the kukri.
Chamfered: Grinding a secondary flat surface on a corner, creating a beveled edge. Commonly done to the edges of a knife's handle or the inside radius of a hole making a smoother contact spot for hand/fingers.
Chisel Ground: Type of grind, where only one side of blade is ground. For more information on other grind types check Knife Edge Grind Types page with diagrams and explanations.
Choil: A choil is a round cut out seperating the cutting edge from the ricasso. It is also used to describe a cut out, molded or formed area where the handle and blade meet which positions/guards the index finger while gripping the opened knife.
Chris Reeve Style Integral Liner Lock: Custom knifemaker Chris Reeve developed upon, then popularized the Walker Liner Lock in an integral form. An integral liner lock functions as a traditional liner lock with the exception that the liner is actually comprised of part of the handle scale.
Clip-Point Blade: A blade, ground on the top (spine) in an angled or sweeping line downward. The underside (where the sharpened edge is) is ground upward. The two angles meet at the tip and where the angles meet determines the depth of the blade's belly.
CLIPIT: Spyderco's trademarked term for their line of folding knives which feature a pocket clip. A CLIPIT fan is often called a CLIPITEER.
Cobra Hood: A machined flange of steel positioned over the Spyderco round opening hole on the spine of the blade which directs/positions your thumb over the hole for quickly opening the knife blade. See Spyderco C71 Salsa.
Cocobolo: Hardwood from the Cocobolo tree, ranging in color from bright orange to deep red and dark purple. Its grain and fine texture are relatively easy to work, polishes to a high sheen and is popular as an inlay or embellishment on knife handles.
Combination Edge (CE): Blade that is partially serrated, partially plainedge.
Compression Lock: A Compression Lock uses a small piece of metal that is inserted, from the side, in between the blade tang and the stop pin (or anvil pin).
Concave Grind: Similar to the flat ground. The blade tapers from the spine to the cutting edge in arc lines extending inward instead of straight lines.
Convex Grind: Similar to the flat ground. The blade tapers from the spine to the cutting edge in arc lines extending outward instead of straight lines.
CPM-T440V Steel: Known as Super Steel because is outlasts every stainless steel currently available. This steel is very hard to sharpen, but once sharpened, you do not have to sharp as frequently as it will hold its edge longer. Used in high-end and gentleman folding knives.
Crink: The bend at the beginning of the tang that keeps multi-bladed pocket knives from rubbing against the other blades.
Cryogenic Quenching: A process of freezing a knife blade to -120 degrees Fahrenheit which improves knife strength and performance.
Cordura: Popular sheath material. High-tenacity nylon fiber. Advantages: light weight, very durable & wear resistant.
D2 Steel: A high-carbon, high-chrome tool steel. Knives produced with D2 steel have an excellent ability to keep an edge.
Dagger: A grind down the center of a blade equally dividing it into halves.
Damascus: Two types of steel that are folded repeatedly during the forging process to produce very attractive and expensive steel. This new steel retains the properties of the two parent steels.
David Boye Dent: Custom knifemaker David Boye removed a small arc or dent of metal from the lock bar lever of his knives. This removed piece lessened the possibility of gripping the handle hard enough to depress the lock and accidentally unlock the blade while using the knife.
Detent: A minute divot or dimple machined into the blade tang. A ball bearing drops into the detent hole when the knife is in the closed position, holding the knife blade closed inside the handle.
Diamond Coating: The mechanical entrapment of diamond crystals into a metal substrate. This process operates by depositing metal, layer by layer, from a plating solution until enough metal is built up around the diamond crystals to hold them in place.
Double Flat-Ground: A blade that is ground flat on both sides of the blade, tapering to an edge with no radius.
Drop Point: A blade design made popular in hunting knives originally by Bob Loveless and Bo Randall. Simply, the tip of the blade is lowered through a convex arc from the spine.
EDC: An acronym for Everyday Carry meaning a knife that is carried and used daily.
Embellishment: Term used to describe personalized engraving or additional ornamentation added to a knife after it is manufactured.
EMT: Acronym for Emergency Medical Technician.
Ergonomics: The applied science of equipment design intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue, safety and discomfort. Knives which are designed to be comfortable and less fatiguing to use are labeled "ergonomic."
Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon (FRN): A nylon polymer mixed with glass fiber that is then injected into a mold for making lightweight knife handles.
Finger Choil: A purposeful and specific area/curve cut out between the blade and handle. It creates a grip position point closer to the cutting edge for better control while cutting.
Flat-Grind (Full): A knife's edge that tapers from the cutting edge all the way to the blade's spine that is ground completely flat without a radius.
Flat-Saber Grind: A knife's edge, ground completely flat without a radius that tapers from the cutting edge to a grind line down the center of the blade. Unlike a Full Flat Grind, which tapers from the cutting edge all the way to the blade's spine the Flat Saber only is flat ground just to the grind line.
Full Flat-Ground: A flat grind leaves a flat surface, that flat surface if ground from edge to spine is considered a full-flat grind. If that flat surface goes from the edge to somewhere in the middle of the blade it would be considered a flat saber grind.
G-10: Handle material made of epoxy filled with woven glass fiber that is impervious to changes in temperature and can be tinted into many colors.
Glass-Filled Nylon: The process where nylon is reinforced with glass particles and other materials to create a sheath for a knife. Provides strength and durability while still allowing some flexibility.
Gin-1 Steel: A low cost steel that is softer than the common AUS-8 Steel.
Granton Edge: Knife edge type with scalloped depressions along the blade. Mostly scalloping is above the edge, a few mm from the bevel, although some variations include scalloping on the edge itself.
Guard: The knife guard is a separate piece of metal between the blade and handle to prevent accidental contact with the cutting edge.
Gut Hook: A sharpened "hook" which lies on the spine of a hunting knife blade. This design allows the hunter to field dress the animal without puncturing the animal's intestine.
Hamaguri Grind: (Also called Appleseed Grind or Moran Grind): is a convex grind.
Handguard: Protrusion/expansion on the knife's handle proximal to the blade keeping the hand safely positioned on the handle inhibiting sliding forward.
Hawkbill Blade: Blade shaped in a sharply curved hook like the talon of a raptor. The inside edge of the blade is sharpened and works particularly well for commercial fishermen who reach out and pull toward them while cutting line, webbing and netting.
High Alumina Ceramic: The compound used for sharpening stones. It's a ceramic-bonding agent mixed with alumina particles (synthetic sapphires), shaped then kiln fired at temperatures in excess of 3000 degrees F.
Hollow-Ground: Edge that is ground with a radius leaving a concave shape above the cutting surface.
Hook Blade: The Hook Blade features an edge blade which curves in a concave manner.
(HRC) Rockwell Hardness: The industry scale used for measuring the hardness of blade steel. The higher the reading, the harder the steel.
Indexing: "Locating" mark, also used for controlled rotation of the open knife, while gripped in the palm, from one hand-hold to another, e.g., rotating from a forward grip to a reverse grip.
Integral Pocket Clip: Pocket clip that is molded as part of (integral to) the handle rather than a separate component attached with screws. Found on Spyderco model C17 the Catcherman.
Jigged Bone:Derived from deceased animals, generally the chin bone of a cow. The bone is generally dyed and surface texture is obtained by cutting grooves into the bone.
Jimping: Also known as Lashing Grommets. The notches in the back lower blade of some knives to provide better thumb control of the knife.
Kami: Kukri maker, or kukri-smith in other words.
Karda: Small companion knife for the kukri.
Kevlar: The formed synthetic reinforcing fibers and provides stiffness, high tensile strength, light weight, and high abrasion resistance.
Kick: The unsharpened portion along the underside of the knife blade where the edge begins. Keeps the blade "kicked out" so the edge does not hit the back spacer.
Kinetic Opener: A horn or protuberance on the top portion of a knife blade by which the blade may be opened when leveraged against something solid, i.e. an opponent's body. Similar to the opening devices found on straight razors.
Kraton: A rubbery thermoplastic polymer used as a flexible inlay on knife handles for enhanced grip.
Kydex: A thin thermoplastic commonly used for firearm holsters and knife sheaths. It is flexible, resistant to sweat, chemicals, oils and solvents. It is shaped by heat and retains its' set form.
Lanyard Hole: A hole placed in the end of a knife handle opposite the blade. Originally used by sailors who would place a cord through such a hole in their knife to keep from losing it overboard. MBC: An acronym for Martial Blade Craft.
Left/Right-Hand Carry: Knife clip that is manufactured to affix to either side the knife positioning the folder for use by left- and right-handed people.
LEO: Acronym for Law Enforcement Officer.
LinerLock: Locking system developed by custom knifemaker Michael Walker. The blade of a knife is locked open by a leaf-like spring that butts up against the tang of the blade.
Little Big Guy Knife: Term coined by Spyderco to describe a small bladed knife (generally under three inches) that is manufactured using features and materials that allow the knife to be used for strenuous or hard cutting normally done with larger, heavier tools.
Martial Blade Craft (MBC): MBC is the practice of combative arts for self-protection, physical conditioning and control and coordination of the body. MBC's ultimate goal is to train professionals to "stop the bad guy from hurting innocents."
Micarta: A composite of linen or paper fabric in an epoxy resin used as a handle material. It is incredibly lightweight, durable and visually appealing. It can be bead blasted or polished, changing its appearance.
Modified Leaf Pattern: Unlike a traditionally leaf-shaped blades,there are several models in this basic blade shape but with variations such a distinctly pointed tips, spine cusps and swedge grinds.
Nesting: Hollowing out a section in G-10 or other handle material on the inside of the handle where the lock and or liner is then inset/inlayed and fitted into the hollow section. Nesting increases strength and creates a thinner overall profile to the knife.
Para Cord Sleeve: The outer nylon sleeve of Para Cord. Spyderco uses the sleeve to cover the ball chain attached to our neck sheaths thus reducing noise during carry as well as possible pinching from the chain.
Phantom Lock: A pressure release locking system used on the Spyderco MeerKat, model C64. The lock is released by positioning your thumb on the butt end of the handle over the Spyderco bug, and two fingers on the back side of the handle then scissoring the two sides in opposite directions.
Photon II: Quarter-sized flashlight that uses photon technology, an LED bulb emitting incredibly bright full spectrum light with a Lithium long-life battery.
Pinky Shelf: An angled protrusion at the distal-end of the knife handle where the pinky sits. This angled portion of the handle offers a leveraging spot for additional control and coordination over the knife while in the hand.
PlainEdge: A sharpened knife blade with no serrations or teeth. Sometimes called a smooth blade.
Point: The tip of the knife blade.
Pommel: The knob or expansion found on the of end a sword or knife.
Quillion: A handguard protruding from both sides of the handle (where the handle and blade meet), which stops the hand from slipping up onto the blade.
Reverse "S" Blade: Blade shape resembling a backward S with the tip curving downward. The deep belly (thickest part of the blade) curves in the same direction as the tip.
Ricasso: The flat section of the blade between the guard and the edge bevel. Commonly, the tang stamp is found on the Ricasso.
Ringlock: Type of lock with a rotating slipring instead of a backspring.
Rockwell Hardness (HRC): The industry scale used for measuring the hardness of blade steel. The higher the reading, the harder the steel.
Rolling Lock: A lock which uses a bearing that rolls into the locked position.
S30V Steel: S30V steel blades are harder and more wear resistant than standard 440C stainless steel. Also has above average edge retention.
Sabre: The Sabre edge is thick and is a great for chopping and other extreme uses. The flat edge bevel begins in the middle art of the blade and runs flatly to the edge.
Sandvik 12C27: A premium stainless steel made in Sweden.
San Mai III: An expensive, traditional style Japanese laminate. Constructed from two different steels, this steel is 25% stronger than the incredibly tough AUS 8A steel. A hard high carbon stainless steel forms the core and edge of the blade. Two layers of tough, spring tempered stainless steel are added to support and strengthen the blade. The final blade has more elastic and better edge holding capabilities than standard stainless steels.
Santuko: A type of Japanese Chef knife. The spine of the blade curves downward to meet the edge. The belly of the knife slightly curves.
Save and Serve: Blanket term used to describe knife users who are EMTs, LEOs, Military Personnel - anyone who saves and serves.
Scale: A knife handle made of scales or slabs of material that are riveted, screwed or bonded together. Slabs are attached to a Tang to make a handle, such as Zytel, G-10, fiberglass, different sorts of wood, titanium etc.
Scimitar :A curved blade with the edge on the convex side.
Scrimshaw: The art of creating decorative designs usually found on ivory or ivory like knife handles.
Sebenza Lock: A hollowed out section of the scale is fixed into the knife handle cavity to lock the blade open.
Sermollan: A rubberized plastic used on kitchen knife handles that offers a secure grip and resistance to bacteria.
Serrated Edge: A set of notches or teeth for cutting on some knives. Can be found on the back or front of a blade.
Sheepfoot Blade: A blade with a round, blunt tip that has no point. The design inhibits accidental stabbing while working in emergency situations, around livestock and inflatable boats.
SK-5 High Carbon Steel: SK-5 is the Japanese equivalent of American 1080, a high carbon steel with carbon between 0.75%-0.85% and 0.60%-0.90% manganese. As quenched, it has a hardness near Rc 65 and produces a mixture of carbon rich martensite with some small un-dissolved carbides. The excess carbide increases abrasion resistance and allows the steel to achieve an ideal balance of very good blade toughness with superior edge holding ability. Due to these characteristics, this grade of steel has been used traditionally for making a variety of hand tools, including chisels and woodcutting saws, and has stood the test of time and use over many years in many countries. Our working temper for these SK-5 steel knives are RC 57-58.
Slip Joint: Non Locking Blade - a blade having a spring acting against it, which provides some resistance to its opening and closing as it pivots within the handle.
Spear Point:Blade shape that has an equal amount of curve on the spine and the cutting edge. The two curves meet, coming together at the point. Designed for general-purpose cutting.
Spine Cusp: A point or crest above The Spyderco Round Hole that creates a spot where the thumb is placed and offers leverage while holding the knife and cutting.
Sprint Run: A limited, one time only, production of a knife design/model. Production numbers are less than 1500 pieces.
Spyderco Trademark Round Hole: Round hole located in the knife blade used for one-hand opening and closing of a knife blade.
SpyderEdge: Spyderco's two-step serration pattern of one large and two small serrations. This pattern increases the cutting edge by 24%.
Stag: A natural material from deer antler, used as a handle material.
Stainless Steel:Steel that contains a minimum of 12-1/2-13% chromium, making it resistant (not stain-proof) to corrosion. The chromium oxide "CrO" creates a barrier to oxygen and moisture, preventing rust formation.
Stellite: To be more exact it's Stellite 6K or Stellite 6B. Cobalt Alloy, highly wear resistance, non magnetic, quite expensive. Quite controversial too!
Swedge (non-sharpened): Also called a false edge, it is a ground edge on the back of the blade's spine, that is chamfered, or non-sharpened. It removes weight from the blade and can change the blade's balance and penetration performance and appearance.
Swinglock: A type of knife lock which uses one pivot pin and one locking pin.
Talonite: Another Cobalt alloy. Cobalt Chromium alloy. Talonite composition is more similar to the Stellite 6k alloy, just different hardening and rolling. Talonite is easier to grind & more wear resistant than other alloys of Stellite family.
Tang: The portion of the blade where it connects to the handle. Full Tang means that the tang goes through the handle to the Pommel.
Tek-Lok: Detachable polymer clip mounted onto some of Spyderco's sheaths which can be situated to carry the knife in five different carry positions: vertical, inverted, cross-draw, small of back or horizontal position.
Tip-Up/Tip-Down: Refers to which direction the folded knife if positioned by its pocket clip. When closed and clipped in a pocket, whichever direction (up or down) the blade's tip sits defines if it is termed tip-up or tip-down.
Titanium: A non-ferrous metal with high tensile strength is light-weight and resistant to corrosion. Often used for handle material or knife liners. These knives require almost no sharpening or maintenance.
Trainer: A red-handled non-sharpened knife used for training and practice purposes.
Volcano Grip: Spyderco's trademarked name for the waffle texture found in our FRN handled lightweight knives. The continuous pattern of small squares offer better hand grip while cutting.
VG-1 Stainless Steel: When considering a new material for a performance upgrade for the Cold Steel® Tanto, we tested seven different grades of steel including Shiro 2, V-SP-2, 10A, 440C, VG-10, ATS 34, and VG-1. Physical testing for sharpness, edge retention, point strength, shock, and ultimate blade strength showed that while many of the steels had increased performance in one or two testing categories, only one, VG-1, showed the greatest performance increases in the most critical categories. With an outstanding ability to retain an edge and proven strength in point and blade tests, VG-1 will provide Cold Steel customers with superior performance previously unavailable in a stainless steel blade.
Wharncliffe: A blade design in which the point of the knife is dropped to a straight cutting edge.
Wood Epoxy Laminate: This is an impregnated wood laminate, which is extremely hard and machines similar to Corian, aluminum and Micarta.
Zytel: Widely used as a handle material. Thermoplastic, containing fiberglass, Kevlar etc. Many complain that Zytel tends to deform & stretch over the time.