Definition of dirk in English:



  • A short dagger of a kind formerly carried by Scottish Highlanders.

    • ‘But he was also skilled at the bow, the short ax, the dirk, the scythe, the dagger, even the great battle axe.’
    • ‘He wanted to run Marcs through with a blade, be it a scimitar, a sword, a dirk, a dagger, a knife, an axe or an arrow.’
    • ‘Witness the growth of knives from the dirk to shortsword to huge English broadsword.’
    • ‘More frighteningly, Tamora could see the hundreds more beyond the few battering the gate, and over a third of them were properly armed - swords, dirks, bows and arrows.’
    • ‘I've also got some dirks, and my personal favorites, daggers.’
    • ‘He sheared the barrel from a man's gun and drove his dirk into the man's stomach.’
    • ‘There are many wonderful things among the countless flint tools, dirks and firearms, but the quantity of material is daunting even for the most discerning.’
    • ‘An assortment of rifles, pistols, dirks, daggers, and cudgels were quite literally dripping off their massive persons.’
    • ‘I wondered if he carried a dirk and a pistol and if his hat was adorned with crocodile skin.’
    • ‘At sea, cutlasses became common issue in the 18th century for most navies and officers were equipped with swords and dirks in much the same way as their military counterparts.’
    • ‘Some clutched the hilts of their swords, others dirks or bows.’
    • ‘Pulling the covers off revealed a no-nonsense rapier and a mid-length dirk.’
    • ‘How did you get a dirk and a broadsword on an airplane?’
    • ‘We'll fight, but only use our swords - no dirks, daggers or shields, just steel-on-steel.’
    • ‘Shields, longswords, shortswords, broadswords, greatswords, and any other kind of sword you could name; daggers, dirks, scimitars, pikes, bows, and weapons even whose names escaped her.’
    • ‘There were over a dozen men in the inn yard by now, all watching the confrontation, and an entire town beyond them, and if only the loudmouth wore a sword, at least half the others carried dirks or daggers.’
    • ‘What the Greek kopus was to the sarissa and the Roman pugio was to the gladius, so too was the French gauche to the sabre, the Spanish daga to the espada, the Scottish dirk to the basket hilt, and the English dagger to the rapier.’
    • ‘‘So, you just ‘forgot’ you had the family dirk and a five-hundred-year-old Scottish Broadsword?’’
    • ‘It was a dirk, a dirk of much better make than his own or any he'd ever hope to own, and it shimmered red-gold in the woven sunlight.’
    • ‘It was the two pearl-handled pistols and the thigh-sheathed dirk that won most of her battles.’


Mid 16th century: of unknown origin.