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Justin Pasternak




Location: West Springfield, Massachusetts
Joined: 17 Sep 2006

Posts: 174

PostPosted: Sat 18 Nov, 2006 8:16 am    Post subject: Knives and Daggers         Reply with quote

Are knives and daggers different from one another as in blade shape or blade length/width or even the design of the hilt? Or are they just interchangable words that mean the same thing. The reason I'm asking this is because their are some people I know that call what looks to be a dagger a knife and or a knife a dagger?
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Andy Bain




Location: Surrey, BC, Canada
Joined: 24 Aug 2003

Posts: 119

PostPosted: Sat 18 Nov, 2006 8:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The simple distinction I use is a dagger is double edged and a knife has a single edge.
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Richard Fay




Location: Upstate New York
Joined: 29 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Nov, 2006 8:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

Justin,
I believe a knife is usually considered to be single-edged, and a dagger single or double edged (there are examples of medieval daggers with just a single edge), although this is not a hard and fast rule. Daggers typically taper evenly to a point, and a knife's profile is, well, knife-like. George Cameron Stone takes a broad view in his glossary.
George Cameron Stone wrote:

DAGGER. A sheath knife. This name never appears to indicate any paticular variety of knife, except that it never applied to a clasp knife.

According to this definition, a dagger would indeed be considered to be a type of knife (which it is, really).
Here's Oakeshott's definition of a dagger from the glossary in A Knight and His Weapons:
Ewart Oakeshott wrote:

Dagger - a knife-like weapon but not always a short style of sword. There were many forms of medieval daggers, the earliest style from about 1000 to 1150 very much resembling a modern kitchen knife. Later daggers, though, were more shapely, and, by the second half of the fourteenth century, they developed long handles.

Here's the definition from the glossary in Arms and Armour of the Medieval Knight by David Edge and John Miles Paddock:
David Edge and John Miles Paddock wrote:

Dagger A diminutive form of sword, usually worn on the right hip, with a short single or double edged blade and a variet of hilt forms. Known in England as a misericorde.

Here's the definition from The Complete Encyclopedia of Arms and Weapons, edited by Claude Blair and Leonid Tarassuk:
Blair and Tarassuk wrote:

dagger A general term, used at least from the period of Middle English (c. 1050-1450), for edged weapons with a short, pointed blade and a handle.

This is what the Diagram Group book Weapons: An International Encyclopedia from 5000 BC to 2000 AD says about daggers:
The Diagram Group wrote:

Daggers One of the basic ways to kill or wound is to stab. The dagger is the simplist stabbing weapon. It is short-bladed, held in one hand, and while used primarily for thrusting, many will also cut in the manner of a domestic knife. As one of man's basic weapons, it is found in all parts of the world and has been used since the Stone Age.

The basic characteristics of a dagger are sharpness and stiffness. All have a hilt or grip and a blade with a sharp point. Some have a form of guard to protect the hand...


Now, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary gives a very succinct definition of a dagger:
Webster's Dictionary wrote:

dagger n. {ME} (14c.) 1 : a sharp pointed knife for stabbing.

I guess it's best to say that the dagger is a specific type of knife designed primarily as a stabbing weapon. All daggers could be classified as knives, but all knives wouldn't necessarily be classified as daggers, just as all squares are also rectangles, but all rectangles aren't necessarily squares!

I hope this helped!

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Nov, 2006 8:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also every dagger is a knife but not all knives are daggers.

The double edge criteria is a good general description but one can have single edged daggers also: The design objectives can also be looked at. If a blade tends to the pointy types better for a stab than a cut it can be defined as a dagger.

The whole thing can be complicated by region, time period and local tradition that calls certain knives daggers or knives.

Laws can also arbitrarily call certain knives daggers when common sense or actual knowledge would contradict that definition. ( Screw drivers have been called daggers as well as rounded tip butter knives when it suited some agenda. Worried )

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Richard Fay




Location: Upstate New York
Joined: 29 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Nov, 2006 9:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again!
Jean Thibodeau wrote:

Also every dagger is a knife but not all knives are daggers.

Hey Jean,
Boy, I'm getting this nasty habit of typing in the same thing as someone else at the same time! Wink

I just said the same thing. I guess it's just another instance of great minds thinking alike. Big Grin

Maybe someone could post some pictures of daggers as examples, especially some of the single-edged examples. (I sometimes get very frustrated by my scanners limitations, since I know a picture is worth a thousand words.)

I once skewered my hand with a Philip's head screwdriver; I still bear a small star-shaped scar in my right palm. If used as a weapon used to stab, a screwdriver could be called a dagger. Stilettos are specialized daggers that don't necessarily need a sharp edge; they are purely stabbing tools. Aren't there some with three edges (possibly unsharpened or only semi-sharp)?

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Katie Neal





Joined: 17 Jul 2006

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sat 18 Nov, 2006 10:43 am    Post subject: i like this post!         Reply with quote

how about another thought! whats the diffrence between a Scabbard or Sheath? does a sheath go to a knife and a scabbard a sword?
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Addison C. de Lisle




Location: South Carolina
Joined: 05 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Nov, 2006 11:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A scabbard has a wooden core, a sheath does not.
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Justin Pasternak




Location: West Springfield, Massachusetts
Joined: 17 Sep 2006

Posts: 174

PostPosted: Sat 18 Nov, 2006 1:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the info everyone!!! Now I have a good understanding about daggers and knives.
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