Definition of knacker in US English:



  • A 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.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


[with object]often as adjective knackered
  • 1Tire (someone) out; exhaust.

    ‘you look absolutely knackered’
    • ‘This was a really great day's walking, I'm knackered now, I've done about 19 miles.’
    • ‘And after last night's shenanigans I'm absolutely knackered.’
    • ‘I am knackered today, and think I need an early night tonight!’
    • ‘I'm knackered already because of a poor night's sleep and there will be little opportunity to catch up during the week.’
    • ‘I'm too knackered to type more, as I haven't had any decent sleep for 72 hours.’
    • ‘I could really do with catching up on some sleep too because, to be honest, I'm totally knackered.’
    • ‘My shoulders ache, I'm knackered already and I don't feel like doing any work.’
    • ‘It doesn't help that I'm completely knackered after staying up till about 2 in the morning drinking whiskey.’
    • ‘Woke up already feeling knackered this morning, which is never a good start to the day.’
    • ‘Basically, anything above a brisk, short stroll and I'm knackered.’
    • ‘After 48 hours on the road, I'm 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.’
    • ‘I am supposed to be going dancing but I am knackered, so I will probably stay in and feel sorry for myself instead.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I had to have a little snooze this afternoon as I was completely knackered.’
    • ‘I was knackered last night so I went to bed relatively early for me.’
    • ‘It's safe to say this weekend has really knackered me out.’
    • ‘Everything is fine. I've just been out a lot this week and now I'm knackered with a monster hangover.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Suddenly it's Thursday, which is the end of my working week, and I'm knackered.’
    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
    exhausted, 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. 1.1 Damage severely.
      • ‘My windscreen wipers are knackered and it's snowing buckets.’
      • ‘If his knee injury hasn't knackered him completely there is no need to suppose he won't be as prolific as before.’
      • ‘But my battery was knackered, and in the weak, red glow of the rear lights I couldn't really see anything properly.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘A year and a half of job-hunting has rather knackered my confidence, but I reckon I can fake it till I make it.’
      • ‘The drink and the drugs have basically knackered my life.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The teaching job really knackered my confidence.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The water pump was knackered by a poorly replaced timing chain (I think).’
      • ‘We have been told so often that Scottish football is knackered that we have come to believe it.’
      • ‘No wonder his knee is knackered when you look at the number of overs he has bowled.’
      • ‘Either way, it's annoying, but at least it doesn't mean my headphones are knackered, as I originally feared.’
      • ‘Last night I ran an iPod software update and it knackered my iPod up.’
      • ‘Certainly for today at least, the Labour campaign is knackered.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I have a new digital camera on my Xmas list as my current one is knackered.’
      broken, damaged, faulty, defective, unsound
      View synonyms


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 (sense 2 of the noun) 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 (sense 1 of the noun), or of ‘castrate’, from knacker (sense 2 of the noun).