Definition of knapsack in US English:



  • A bag with shoulder straps, carried on the back, and typically made of canvas or other weatherproof material.

    • ‘I stopped to readjust my knapsack, then hoisted the hockey bag again.’
    • ‘The thefts have occurred primarily at the DP library, where unattended knapsacks left inside study booths present an attractive opportunity for thieves.’
    • ‘He asked to see my ticket, and I crouched down to reach into the top compartment of my knapsack to retrieve it.’
    • ‘The second girl reluctantly produced a pack of cigarettes from her knapsack and offered one to the man.’
    • ‘The soldiers, dressed in bright green fatigues with knapsacks on their backs, filed through Jean Lesage Airport to meet loved ones who cheered and clapped.’
    rucksack, backpack, haversack, pack, kitbag, duffel bag, satchel, shoulder bag, holdall
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Early 17th century: from Middle Low German, from Dutch knapzack, probably from German knappen ‘to bite’ + zak ‘sack’.