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What is the meaning of 'knap' as in knapsack? The dictionary doesn't answer it for me.

Question #4813. Asked by AOR.

Answer has 2 votes
23 year member
188 replies

Answer has 2 votes.
Etymology: Low German knappsack or Dutch knapzak, from Low German and Dutch knappen to make a snapping noise, eat + Low German sack or Dutch zak sack Date: 1603 : a bag (as of canvas or nylon) strapped on the back and used for carrying supplies or personal belongings.

- From MERRIAM-WEBSTER Dictionary

Aug 02 2000, 2:12 PM
zbeckabee star
Answer has 6 votes
Currently Best Answer
zbeckabee star
17 year member
11752 replies avatar

Answer has 6 votes.

Currently voted the best answer.
Additionally: A knapsack is where a soldier carried his food, which might have to be eaten quickly. "Knapsack" meant "eating bag" in the English spoken in the 1600s. Knap comes from a German word that means "a bite" or "snap."


1603, from Low Ger. Knapsack (Du. knapzak), probably from knappen "to eat" lit. "to crack, snap" + Sack "bag."


Apr 02 2008, 2:39 PM
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