Essential Knife and EDC Vocabulary
Every profession and hobby comes with its own set of essential vocabulary, abbreviations, and acronyms, and the knife and every day carry community is no exception. If you are unfamiliar with these terms, navigating the many great groups, forums, and events can be pretty confusing.
Today we will cover some of these terms to help those newer to these communities familiarize themselves with the essential lingo that the pros and long time members of the community use. This list will not cover every possible word out there but it should be a good primer for some of the most commonly used words.
This will be a regularly updated “living document”, so be sure to check back from time to time for updates!
Aftermarket Parts - Parts for a knife that were produced by anyone besides the original maker of the knife.
Beater - Generally used to describe an inexpensive knife or EDC item that is used hard and with little regard for its longevity.
Bushcraft - Skills and practices associated with primitive and back country living/ recreation.
Collector - Some of whom collect EDC items and focus on collector value over use.
The Community - The Community is often used in social media as a general term for groups of people with the same interest. There is more than one community, though they tend to intersect. Examples include the knife community, the EDC community, and the bushcraft community.
Custom Knife - Knives which are typically made to order and/or built by hand.
Every Day Carry/EDC - Every Day Carry, often shortened to EDC, is a term to describe the tools and items an individual carries with them on a daily basis. This is a very wide term and one's particular jobs or activities will have a major impact on what they consider an EDC item.
Hard User - An EDC item or knife that is designed to operate and function through heavy work.
LNIB - Acronym for "Like New in Box".
Mid-Tech Knife - A knife which is partially produced in a production facility but then is finished by hand.
NIB - Acronym for "New in Box".
OEM Parts - Acronym for "Original Equipment Manufacturer", i.e. parts for a knife that were produced by the company that made the knife.
Production Knife - A knife that is mass produced in a production facility.
Safe Queen - A term used for a prized collectors item. Item is not used for normal EDC tasks.
Sale Value/Trade Value - Sale value is the value of an item if paying cash, trade value is the value of an item if trading for another item.
Secondary Market - Sales done between members of the community and not through a retailer.
Ti - Abbreviation for titanium.
User - Someone who regularly uses their EDC items. Also used to describe a used knife or EDC item.
WTB - Acronym for "Want to Buy".
WTS - Acronym for "Want to Sell".
WTT - Acronym for "Want to Trade".
TYPES OF KNIVES
Assisted Opening - A folding knife which has an internal spring to rapidly move the blade into an opened and locked position, but requires the user's physical force to start the opening process.
Automatic Knives/Autos - A knife which deploys through the use of a switch or button, which triggers internal spring mechanisms that quickly move the blade into an open and lock position.
Balisong/Bali/Butterfly Knife - A knife characterized by having 2 handles that freely counter-rotate around the tang of the blade, housing the blade within the handles when the knife is in the closed position
Bushcraft Knife - A fixed blade knife designed specifically for processing wood and other natural materials for outdoor uses.
Fishing Knife - Similar to hunting knives, but geared toward processing fish.
Fixed Blade - A knife where the blade is stationary and does not close, and are stored in sheaths. These are less commonly referred to as belt knives.
Flipper - A folding knife with a tab either on the back or front to the blade which functions as a method of deployment. This term is also sometimes used for an individual who buys knives at retail or low cost and then sells them for a profit on the secondary market.
Folding Knife/Folder - These are broad terms that apply to any knife in which the blade deploys from the side of the handle, regardless of opening mechanism or locking mechanism.
Hunting Knife - Knives that are designed to help process game. Most are fixed blades, though there are some exceptions. Also sometimes referred to as a Skinner.
Manual Opening - A folding knife which is opened solely through the physical force of the user.
Out the Front/OTF - A pocket knife the blade deploys from the front of the knife. Almost all OTF knives are automatic, though there are some exceptions.
Slip Joint - A manual folding knife that has no mechanism to lock it in the open position. Previous to the invention of the slip joint a Friction Folder existed. Though the mechanism is different these terms are sometimes used interchangeably.
Survival Knife - An outdoor fixed blade knife designed to be a jack of all trades for outdoor purposes.
Switch Blade - A somewhat archaic term used to describe automatic knives.
Blade - The sharpened part of the knife that is not part of the handle.
Blade Edge/Cutting Edge - The sharpened part of the blade used for cutting.
Choil - An unsharpened indent in the blade closest to the handle. A Sharpening Choil exists to aid the sharpening process and a Finger Choil exists to allow the user to safely place a finger on the portion of the blade for better control.
Detent - Metal or ceramic ball inside a folding knife that holds the blade closed.
Double Edged - A knife where both sides of the blade are sharpened, often referred to as a Dagger.
Frame - Frame lock knives have a heavy rear frame that provides stability and houses the frame lock mechanism.
Grind/Bevel - Cross section of the blade that is ground down to make the edge.
Handle - The part of the knife in which the user grips.
Handle Scale - Material that covers the tang in fixed blades, and the liners in folding knives.
Handle Screw - Screws that hold the handles of a folding knife together, and may also secure scales.
Jibbing/Jimping - Notches in the spine or handle of a knife to increase grip.
Liner - Some folding knives have thin metal liners beneath the outer portion of the handles to increase stability, house internal mechanisms, or lock parts.
Nail Knick - Small indent in the blade to aid in opening, commonly used in slip joint and older back lock knives.
Pivot - Part of the folding knife in which the blade swings open from. This area contains the Pivot Screw and Washers or Bearings
Pocket Clip - This is the clip that allows pocket knives to be held onto your pants pocket.
Ricasso - The unsharpened part of the blade closest to the handle.
Sheath/Slip - Covering and carry system for fixed blades, generally made of leather of a polymer known as Kydex.
Single Edged - A blade with only one side of the blade is sharpened.
Spine - The spine of the blade is the side of the blade opposite the sharpened edge.
Spydie Hole - Most commonly used in Spyderco knives, this circular cutout in the blade of the folding knife is used to aid in opening.
Tang - The metal portion of a fixed blade that extends into the handle.
Tip/Point - The forward part of the blade.
Thumb Disk - A disk placed on top of a folding knife’s spine to aid in opening.
Thumb Stud - A stud added to the spine of a blade to aid in the opening process.
OTHER EDC TOOLS
EDC Bag - A backpack, messenger, hip bag, or purse used to carry EDC items
Hank - A handkerchief used for knife care and to clean EDC items, often backed in microfiber or other soft material.
IFAK - Acronym for "Individual First Aid Kit".
Knuck - An EDC item that is similar to a brass knuckle, but serves a more decorative than functional purpose.
Multi-tool - A multi purpose tool. Examples include Leatherman products or a multi-function keychain tool.
Pouch - A small bag or organizer that an individual's EDC items can be carried in.
Pry Bar - A small pocket sized tool designed for light prying tasks.
Torch - Another term for flashlight.
Worry Coin/Challenge Coin/Coin - A non-monetary coin that has some symbolic value or meaning.
Did we miss one? What other EDC terms would you like to know? Drop a comment below!