One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Any of various kinds of knife used by coopers, saddlers, curriers, etc., for making or fitting a head for an object.
2A knife used to cut off the head of something, especially a fish.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in James Rogers (1823–1890), political economist and politician. From heading + knife.
heading knife/ˈhɛdɪŋ nʌɪf/
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