phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: Knick Knack

Posted by TheFallen on December 17, 2001 at

In Reply to: Knick Knack posted by Skip on December 17, 2001

: What is "Knick Knack" form the song (This Old Man).

If it helps, and presuming it's not a nonsense rhyme just to go with whacking Paddy, a knick-knack is a small useless trinket or ornament. The only origins I can trace on this are from the word "knack" which means both a skill or ability, usually to do something quickly, and also apparently archaically an ingenious device - both of which probably stem from the German "knacken", an onomatopoeic verb meaning to make a cracking sound, just as when you snap your fingers. So if you have a knack for doing something or you own an archaic knack that helps you do something, you'll be able to do it in a snap. Knick-knack is almost certainly a deliberately tivialised derivative, because a knick-knack has no use at all.