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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

also knickknack, 1570s, reduplication of knack "stratagem, trick."


n. A small ornament of minor value.

Usage examples of "knick-knack".

And when the Freer saw the beauty of Lirazel flash mid the common things in his little holy place, for he had ornamented the walls of his house with knick-knacks that he sometimes bought at the fairs, he feared at once she was of no mortal line.

This pleased rupert but then he had found out she was renting a small bedsit in Vauxhall, rammed to the ceiling with pottery turtles, leatherette footstools and flowery, applique table mats, where she would sneak off as if visiting a lover and would sit for hours, rocking backwards and forwards stroking a ceramic clown amidst a mountain of knick-knacks.

Instead of being an airy colonial lad, he was a small Dresden china knick-knack, with a baby face and a tall hat like an unlicked cat.

Not only that, there was an awful lot of it, and the dozens of chairs, sofas, pictures, prints, busts, and miscellaneous knick-knacks seemed to have been chosen more or less at random.

Here voyageurs frolicked away their wages, fiddling and dancing in the booths and cabins, buying all kinds of knick-knacks, dressing themselves out finely, and parading up and down, like arrant braggarts and coxcombs.

Elsewhere the count found everything he required -- smelling-bottles, cigars, knick-knacks.

A single tall cabinet, its polished doors closed, and two graceful etchings on the walls but none of the cluttered knick-knacks her other mannerisms had suggested.

But you kitted out the rupert with all your little knick-knacks, didn't you?

But you kitted out the rupert with all your little knick-knacks, didnt you?

As for the knick-knacks, they were extraordinarily fine: chiming clocks and musical boxes, little men with nodding heads, books filled with pictures, weapons of price from all quarters of the world, and the most elegant puzzles to entertain the leisure of a solitary man.

When it is over we'll be the richer by a dozen pincushions, half a dozen pies, a bushel of potatoes, and a few knick-knacks for which we have no earthly use.

They were her personal collection of those saccharoidal "posecards" that you see sold at all the knick-knack stands.

She slumped sedately to the flowered carpet, managing to avoid hitting any of the furniture-no small feat since the room contained a large round rosewood table, a small triangular table with a tintype album on it, a mahogany table with a bouquet of wax flowers under a glass dome on it, a horsehair sofa, a damask loveseat, a Windsor chair, a Morris chair, a Chesterfield chair, several ottomans, a writing desk, a bookcase, a knick-knack cabinet, a whatnot, a firescreen, a harp, an aspidistra, and an elephants foot.