Definition of knacker in English:



  • 1A person whose business is the disposal of dead or unwanted animals, especially those whose flesh is not fit for human consumption.

    • ‘The authorities want us to upgrade our facilities to those of knacker men but we can't afford that kind of investment."’
    • ‘The intention would be to have dead animals collected from farms by the local knacker man and then sent for rendering.’
    • ‘Currently the UK authorities are proposing to contract hunt kennels and licensed knacker operators to collect fallen stock from farms from whence they would be taken onwards to rendering plants.’
    • ‘If under the new Scheme renderers are able to collect as well as dispose, we could well see a further demise of the knacker industry.’
    • ‘He explains that there was a mistake - the vet had just bought the van from the knacker and had not yet painted out the old name.’
    • ‘‘In the Fall’ tells of an old horse being sold to the knacker by a family who lack the means to feed it through another winter and who need the pittance it will bring.’
  • 2vulgar slang Testicles.

  • 3Irish informal An uncouth or loutish person.

    • ‘Singing should break down all barriers, you can be from anywhere, unless you sing like a knacker which is what she does.’
    • ‘Even better we should make an island made of the scrap they've dumped off the west coast somewhere, transport all the knackers in Ireland to it and let them live there.’
    exhaust, drain, enervate, tire, fatigue, wear out, weary, debilitate, jade
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  • 1 Tire (someone) out.

    ‘this weekend has really knackered me’
    • ‘I'm too knackered to type more, as I haven't had any decent sleep for 72 hours.’
    • ‘It's safe to say this weekend has really knackered me out.’
    • ‘I was knackered last night so I went to bed relatively early for me.’
    • ‘My shoulders ache, I'm knackered already and I don't feel like doing any work.’
    • ‘Basically, anything above a brisk, short stroll and I'm knackered.’
    • ‘Everything is fine. I've just been out a lot this week and now I'm knackered with a monster hangover.’
    • ‘I had to have a little snooze this afternoon as I was completely knackered.’
    • ‘Near midnight, a couple of friends of hers came over and wanted us all to go out, but since I was knackered, I declined.’
    • ‘Suddenly it's Thursday, which is the end of my working week, and I'm knackered.’
    • ‘I could really do with catching up on some sleep too because, to be honest, I'm totally knackered.’
    • ‘I am supposed to be going dancing but I am knackered, so I will probably stay in and feel sorry for myself instead.’
    • ‘It doesn't help that I'm completely knackered after staying up till about 2 in the morning drinking whiskey.’
    • ‘This was a really great day's walking, I'm knackered now, I've done about 19 miles.’
    • ‘After 48 hours on the road, I'm knackered.’
    • ‘I'm knackered already because of a poor night's sleep and there will be little opportunity to catch up during the week.’
    • ‘Bless him, by this point it was about quarter to two in the morning and he was knackered so I forgive him for being a bit confused.’
    • ‘And after last night's shenanigans I'm absolutely knackered.’
    • ‘Woke up already feeling knackered this morning, which is never a good start to the day.’
    • ‘I am knackered today, and think I need an early night tonight!’
    • ‘I had every intention of arriving early and leaving early as it was a ‘school night’ and I was knackered after quite a few late nights at work.’
    tired out, worn out, weary, dog-tired, bone-tired, bone-weary, ready to drop, on one's last legs, asleep on one's feet, drained, fatigued, enervated, debilitated, spent
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Damage (something) severely.
      ‘I knackered my ankle playing on Sunday’
      • ‘The drink and the drugs have basically knackered my life.’
      • ‘Last night I ran an iPod software update and it knackered my iPod up.’
      • ‘Certainly for today at least, the Labour campaign is knackered.’
      • ‘If his knee injury hasn't knackered him completely there is no need to suppose he won't be as prolific as before.’
      • ‘Mather's quarrel with his body began in March when he knackered his shoulder against France, putting him out of the rest of the regular season.’
      • ‘My windscreen wipers are knackered and it's snowing buckets.’
      • ‘Either way, it's annoying, but at least it doesn't mean my headphones are knackered, as I originally feared.’
      • ‘When I work a 12 hour day, without a break, like today, the last thing I want to find at the end of it is that my bloody phone handset is knackered.’
      • ‘I have a new digital camera on my Xmas list as my current one is knackered.’
      • ‘As this person says, if you learnt to type using an old-fashioned typewriter, you hit the keyboard hard, and it knackers normal keyboards in a matter of months.’
      • ‘No wonder his knee is knackered when you look at the number of overs he has bowled.’
      • ‘But my battery was knackered, and in the weak, red glow of the rear lights I couldn't really see anything properly.’
      • ‘The water pump was knackered by a poorly replaced timing chain (I think).’
      • ‘Anyway, before you start to panic, I was only there to visit a friend, who had a bit of a fall over the weekend and knackered his knee.’
      • ‘A year and a half of job-hunting has rather knackered my confidence, but I reckon I can fake it till I make it.’
      • ‘We have been told so often that Scottish football is knackered that we have come to believe it.’
      • ‘Well, for all who climb up and down Scafell there should be a severe health warning: ‘You will knacker your knees and hips if you do not take a stick with you’.’
      • ‘The teaching job really knackered my confidence.’


Late 16th century (originally denoting a harness-maker, then a slaughterer of horses): possibly from obsolete knack ‘trinket’. The word also had the sense ‘old worn-out horse’ (late 18th century). knacker may be from dialect knacker ‘castanet’, from obsolete knack ‘make a sharp abrupt noise’, of imitative origin. It is unclear whether the verb represents a figurative use of ‘slaughter’, from knacker, or of ‘castrate’, from knacker.