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Knack   Listen
noun
Knack  n.  
1.
A petty contrivance; a toy; a plaything; a knickknack. "A knack, a toy, a trick, a baby's cap."
2.
A readiness in performance; aptness at doing a specific task; skill; aptitude; facility; dexterity; often used with for; as, a knack for playing the guitar. "The fellow... has not the knack with his shears." "The dean was famous in his time, And had a kind of knack at rhyme."
3.
Something performed, or to be done, requiring aptness and dexterity; a trick; a device. "The knacks of japers." "For how should equal colors do the knack!"






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Knack" Quotes from Famous Books



... carefully; we do not give them as wide a berth as formerly, for the wakes they turn are no longer savage—but wakes, even when sent out by stern-wheelers at full speed, now give us little trouble; it did not take long to learn the knack of "taking" them. Whether you meet them at right angles, or in the trough, there is the same delicious sensation of rising and falling on the long swells—there is no danger, so long as you are outside the line of foaming breakers; ...
— Afloat on the Ohio - An Historical Pilgrimage of a Thousand Miles in a Skiff, from Redstone to Cairo • Reuben Gold Thwaites

... Heaven-directed, to the poor. Pictures like these, dear Madam, to design, Asks no firm hand, and no unerring line; Some wandering touches, some reflected light, Some flying stroke alone can hit them right: For how should equal colours do the knack? Chameleons who can paint in white and black? 'Yet Chloe sure was formed without a spot'— Nature in her then erred not, but forgot. 'With every pleasing, every prudent part, Say, what can Chloe want?'—She wants a heart. She speaks, behaves, and acts just as she ought; But never, never, ...
— English Poets of the Eighteenth Century • Selected and Edited with an Introduction by Ernest Bernbaum

... is short-lived; his contempt only is rooted, and his resentment lasting.—The above was only one instance of his building too much on practical data. He has an ill habit of prophesying, and goes on, though still decieved. The art of prophesying does not suit Mr. Cobbett's style. He has a knack of fixing names and times and places. According to him, the Reformed Parliament was to meet in March 1818—it did not, and we heard no more of the matter. When his predictions fail, he takes no further notice of them, ...
— Table-Talk - Essays on Men and Manners • William Hazlitt

... overhearing the Duke of Argyle say, "It will do—it must do! I see it in the eyes of them!" This was a good while before the first act was over, and so gave us ease soon: for that duke has a more particular knack than any one now living in discovering the taste of the publick. He was quite right in this, as usual: the good-nature of the audience appeared stronger and stronger every act, and ended in a clamour of applause.' Spence's Anec. ...
— Life Of Johnson, Vol. 2 • Boswell

... how long her sister had been in the room. Their conversation had been innocent enough, but it was not one that she would wish Elizabeth to have overheard. And somehow Elizabeth had a knack of overhearing things. ...
— Beatrice • H. Rider Haggard

... quite unique, His gift of mixing Latin up with Greek," Unique, you lags in learning? what? a knack Caught by Pitholeon with his hybrid clack? "Nay, but the mixture gives the style more grace, As Chian, plus Falernian, has more race." Come, tell me truly: is this rule applied To verse-making by you, and nought beside, Or would you ...
— The Satires, Epistles, and Art of Poetry • Horace

... of the less important branches of bow technic. There is a knack in doing it, and it is purely pyrotechnical. Staccato passages in quantity are only to be found in solos of the virtuoso type. One never meets with extended staccato passages in Beethoven, Brahms, Bruch or Lalo. And the Saint-Saens's violin concerto, ...
— Violin Mastery - Talks with Master Violinists and Teachers • Frederick H. Martens

... and humoring their caprices. Their complaints were more potent than the suggestions of ministers, or the remonstrances of judges. In idle frivolities his time was passed, neglectful of the great interests which were intrusted to him to guard; and the only attainment of which he was proud was a knack of making tarts and bon-bons, with which he frequently ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume VIII • John Lord

... and there, you know, the money's in the details; the more details, the more swag: bearers, mutes, candles, prayers —everything counts; and if the bereaved don't buy prayers enough you mark up your candles with a forked pencil, and your bill shows up all right. And he had a good knack at getting in the complimentary thing here and there about a knight that was likely to advertise—no, I mean a knight that had influence; and he also had a neat gift of exaggeration, for in his time he had kept door for a pious hermit who lived in a ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... and vitality seemed to radiate from his kindly, forceful personality. Of all the officers on board "Jimmy the One" was, with perhaps the exception of the Captain, most beloved by the men. A seaman to the fingertips, slow to wrath and clean of speech, he had the knack of getting the last ounce out of tired men without driving or raising his voice. Working cables on the forecastle in the cold and snowy darkness, when men's faculties grow torpid with cold, and their safety among the grinding cables depends more upon the alert supervision ...
— The Long Trick • Lewis Anselm da Costa Ritchie

... Conciliator. The whole widespread labour and industrial fabric of Great Britain was geared up to his desk. It shook with unrest and was studded with strife. Much of this clash subsided when Lloyd George came into office because he had the peculiar knack of bringing groups of contending interests together. Men learned then, as they found out later, that when they went into conference with Lloyd George they might as well leave their convictions outside the door with their hats ...
— The War After the War • Isaac Frederick Marcosson

... is required to produce a nice frosting is only to be determined by practice. The way to obtain the knack is to frost a few scraps to "get your hand in." Nitric acid of full strength is used, dipping the piece into a shallow dish for a few seconds. A good-sized soup plate would answer very nicely for frosting the bottom ...
— Watch and Clock Escapements • Anonymous

... hands. I then commenced business as showman to the prince and this mass of people. At first his highness was timid, and would not look through the glasses of the peepshows, but when the people began he followed, and acquired the knack of looking through in a very short time. My compass and watch and keys were then all examined, and produced great amusement. What pleased him much was the screw by which the compass was stopped. I was dreadfully frightened lest the watch should be broken as well as the compass, ...
— Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa Performed in the Years 1850-51, Volume 2 • James Richardson

... one or two men occupy a hut, to accommodate so large a party many of them have to be constructed. It is amusing to see how some men, proud of their superior powers of inventiveness, and possessing the knack of making pleasant what would otherwise be uncomfortable, plume themselves before their brethren, and turn them to derision: and it appears the more ridiculous, as they all are as stark naked as an unclothed animal, and have really nothing to ...
— What Led To The Discovery of the Source Of The Nile • John Hanning Speke

... nephew and me to know you and your daughter. I have had my nose at the grindstone of business for so many years that I feared it had grown out of my power to make new friends; but I begin to see that I have not lost the knack. Perhaps my somber presence is tolerated because of my gay, jolly boy," and Mr. Kinsella gazed rather wistfully after Pierce, who had crossed the deck to meet Elise O'Brien, ...
— Molly Brown's Orchard Home • Nell Speed

... possible. A month's separation had taught him to see how very silly he had been in regard to this woman,—and had also detracted much from those charms which had delighted him on board ship. She was pretty, she was clever, she had the knack of being a pleasant companion. But how much more than all these was wanted in a wife? And then he knew nothing about her. She might be, or have been, all that was disreputable. If he could not shake himself free from her, she would be a ...
— John Caldigate • Anthony Trollope

... exceedingly clever with his hands. His penmanship was exquisite. He illustrated all his scientific papers, made his own woodcuts, and carved the reredos that is at present the chief feature of interest in the church at Borlsover Conyers. He had an exceedingly clever knack in cutting silhouettes for young ladies and paper pigs and cows for little children, and made more than one complicated wind instrument ...
— Famous Modern Ghost Stories • Various

... methodically making mental notes of his friend's gestures and expressions for future use. "The old boy's in earnest for once," he thought; and congratulated himself anew that he himself was no genius, merely a person with a knack for imitation, and a habit of keeping his finger on the pulse of the public. It puzzled him that a man who knew his own weaknesses so thoroughly should make no effort to deny or conquer them. Channing seemed to observe his ego as casually ...
— Kildares of Storm • Eleanor Mercein Kelly

... at the ya vrouws who showed their faces at the windows, and joking the women right and left in the street; all of whom laughed and took it in amazing good part; for though he did not know a word of their language, yet he always had a knack of making himself understood among ...
— Tales of a Traveller • Washington Irving

... now an old man and may therefore perhaps venture to speak the simple truth without being suspected of boasting—I seem to have been endowed, from my earliest years, with the gift of straight shooting; it was just a knack, I suppose, but I seemed to be able to judge distances accurately by intuition, and to allow the correct elevation and windage under the most diversified conditions, so that I very rarely made use of the sights on my rifle. Nor did I ever need to aim consciously; ...
— Through Veld and Forest - An African Story • Harry Collingwood

... can be done by a person from twenty-one years of age to fifty. I know no husbandry work (mowing hardly excepted) that is not equally within the power of all persons within those ages, the more advanced fully compensating by knack and habit what they lose in activity. Unquestionably, there is a good deal of difference between the value of one man's labor and that of another, from strength, dexterity, and honest application. But I am quite ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. V. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... the famous operas was not entirely of Arthur's own unaided invention. And so, from one subject to another, they passed on so quickly, and hit it off with one another so exactly (for Hilda had a wonderful knack of leading up to everybody's strong points), that long before lunch was ready, the Progenitor had been quite won over by the fascinations of the brazen hussey, and was prepared to admit that she was really a very nice, kind, tender-hearted, intelligent, appreciative, and discriminating ...
— Philistia • Grant Allen

... done anything useful in the whole course of his life. It is often very curious to trace the sources of greatness. With Mr. Chamberlaine, I think it came from the whiteness of his hands, and from a certain knack he had of looking as though he could say a great deal, though it suited him better to be silent, and say nothing. Of outside deportment, no doubt, ...
— The Vicar of Bullhampton • Anthony Trollope

... couldn't make a bow, or strike two stones together, or rub two sticks together. It couldn't be done. Well, Cal had seen for himself what happened when it was tried. All the men were trying it, and for a little bit everybody thought it was only happening to him, that he must have lost the knack, or something. For a little bit there the men were more worried about how their wife would bring it up for weeks or months, how he had let the rest of the men show him up when it ...
— Eight Keys to Eden • Mark Irvin Clifton

... all have been 'squeezed,'" said Dolphin, "and nothing's easier if you've got the knack—noiseless, bloodless, traceless, the only scientific way of doin' ...
— The Tale of Timber Town • Alfred Grace

... what an advertising campaign can do with a product's actual specifications. Compare {GIGO}; see also {SNAFU principle}. 2. James Parry , a Usenetter infamous for various surrealist net.pranks and an uncanny, machine-assisted knack for joining any thread in which his nom de guerre ...
— The Jargon File, Version 4.0.0

... difficult to make descriptions of machinery and mechanism interesting, but Mr. Williams has the enviable knack of doing so, and it is hardly possible to open this book at any page without turning up something which you feel you must read; and then you cannot stop till you come to the end ...
— To Mars via The Moon - An Astronomical Story • Mark Wicks

... I am sure he was devoted to her, in his way. But he could not do the sort of things she wanted him to do; she was so romantic. He did try. He used to go to all the poetical plays and study them. But he hadn't the knack of it and he was naturally clumsy. He would rush into the room and fling himself on his knees before her, never noticing the dog, so that, instead of pouring out his heart as he had intended, he would have to start off with, 'So awfully sorry! Hope I haven't hurt ...
— Tea-table Talk • Jerome K. Jerome

... perfect little dinner-parties as Aunt Marjorie. She had a knack of finding out each of her guests' particular weaknesses with regard to the dinner-table. She was no diplomatist, and her conversation was considered prosy; but with Mr. Merton to act the perfect host and to lead the conversation into the newest intellectual channels, ...
— A Young Mutineer • Mrs. L. T. Meade

... a great pity that he had not settled himself ashore in a good city practice," continued Dr. Ferris. "He had a great knack at pleasing people and making friends, and he was always spoiling for want of work. I was ready enough to shirk my part of that, you may be sure, but if you start with a reasonably healthy set of men, crew and officers, and keep good discipline, and have no accidents on the voyage, ...
— A Country Doctor and Selected Stories and Sketches • Sarah Orne Jewett

... you know that it is one of my temptations? You wish to know something about him? Well, I will oblige you this once, and then farewell to such vanities—something about him. I will tell you—his—skin when he flung off his clothes—and he had a particular knack in doing so—his skin, when he bared his mighty chest and back for combat; and when he fought he stood, so—if I remember right—his skin, I say, was brown and dusky as that of a toad. Oh me! I wish my elder son ...
— George Borrow and His Circle - Wherein May Be Found Many Hitherto Unpublished Letters Of - Borrow And His Friends • Clement King Shorter

... the course and knows the pitfalls. She's learnt the value of compromise. She ought to have learnt how to be kind. I think kindness is the thing that matters most. Few people are born with it. You have to have been wretched to acquire the knack of it." ...
— The Kingdom Round the Corner - A Novel • Coningsby Dawson

... had been built, and there were several biggish mining settlements at the end of it. Deira itself was filled with offices of European firms, it had got a Stock Exchange of its own, and it was becoming the usual cosmopolitan playground. It had a knack, too, of getting the very worst breed of adventurer. I know something of your South African and Australian mining town, and with all their faults they are run by white men. If they haven't much morals, they have a kind of decency which keeps them fairly straight. But for our sins ...
— The Moon Endureth—Tales and Fancies • John Buchan

... artist in the kitchen, and made coffee to a nicety. She had a knack of tidiness, with which she had infected the Doctor; everything was in its place; everything capable of polish shone gloriously; and dust was a thing banished from her empire. Aline, their single servant, had no other business in ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 6 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... near the house, the major being wheeled down in an easy-chair and superintending his riding. As these horses had little to do and were full of spirit, Vincent's powers were often taxed to the utmost, and he had many falls; but the soil was light, and he had learned the knack of falling easily, and from constant practice was able at the age of fourteen to stick on firmly even without a saddle, and was absolutely fearless as to ...
— With Lee in Virginia - A Story of the American Civil War • G. A. Henty

... long resided in Kentucky, he and two companions discovered a camp of some forty new-comers actually starving, though buffalo were plenty. Clark and his friends speedily relieved their necessities by killing fourteen of the great beasts; for when once the hunters had found out the knack, the buffalo were easier slaughtered than any ...
— The Winning of the West, Volume One - From the Alleghanies to the Mississippi, 1769-1776 • Theodore Roosevelt

... such like, I agree with them; but this is a detail which can be left to the operator's own fancy, the class of work, etc.; but I would remind him that applying enamel with a brush requires much care and a certain amount of "knack". It is something like successful lacquering in brasswork—it looks very simple, but is not. Each succeeding coat of japan gives a more uniform and glossy surface, and for this reason it may, in some cases, be necessary to repeat the operation no fewer than half a dozen times, the final coat being ...
— Handbook on Japanning: 2nd Edition - For Ironware, Tinware, Wood, Etc. With Sections on Tinplating and - Galvanizing • William N. Brown

... in an open rebellion against convention, and manifested this hostility in an exaggerated carelessness of dress and manner. It was perhaps his habit of thought as much as anything else that had made him a dramatic critic; but it was a knack for keen analysis and a natural, caustic wit that had raised him to eminence in his field. Outwardly he was a sloven and a misanthrope; inwardly he was simple and rather boyish, but years of experience in a box-office, then as advance man and publicity agent for a circus, and finally as a Metropolitan ...
— The Auction Block • Rex Beach

... ethics of Scripture, and with the hopes and powers that are treasured in Jesus Christ, so that our minds are made up upon a great many thorny questions as to what we ought to do, and that when crises or dangers come, as they have a knack of coming, very suddenly, and are sprung upon us unexpectedly, we shall be able, without much difficulty, or much time spent in perplexed searching, to fall back upon the principles that decide our conduct—that is essential to all successful ...
— Expositions Of Holy Scripture - Volume I: St. Luke, Chaps. I to XII • Alexander Maclaren

... country town and had not been able, at first, to realize themselves and their abilities to the best advantage in the city. Assuredly his father knew how to drive horses and to care for them; and he had an intuitive knack for safeguarding his self-respect. And Johnny's mother was perfectly competent to cook and to keep house—even above a stable—most neatly. If Johnny's curtain was rumpled, that was Johnny's own incorrigible fault. The window-sill was a wide one, and Johnny, I found, used ...
— On the Stairs • Henry B. Fuller

... of labor, for they can do so many things, usually have to do so many things, most of them, in the family, that some one sort of work, at least, is left to them for special old age. "Mother's pies" or grandmother's cakes or needlework or knack at dusting or baby-tending or what not keeps her young and makes her actually a helper even when old. Grandfather's loss of his job, of his specialty of effort, of his hold on the great industrial machine, leaves him ...
— The Family and it's Members • Anna Garlin Spencer

... him were aware of one peculiarity which by its prominence cast others into the shade. He possessed a very useful gift rarely given to men—the gift of intuition. It was dangerous to think when the eyes of the Vicomte d'Audierne were upon one's face. He had a knack of knowing one's thoughts before they were even formulated. He looked grave—almost distressed—on this occasion, because he knew something of which Hilda herself was ignorant. He knew that she was engaged to be married to one man while ...
— The Slave Of The Lamp • Henry Seton Merriman

... to look back upon it is really impossible for me to be much affected by the passing wave of dissatisfaction with Mr. Balfour. Men of first-rate ability and character are rare. Still rarer are men who, having those qualities, also have the knack of compelling the attention and respect even of a hostile House of Commons. When a party possesses a leader with all these gifts, it is not likely to change ...
— Constructive Imperialism • Viscount Milner

... very true, continu'd he, I have lately had the good Fortune to convert many; and besides the Candour of my own Disposition, I must tell you, that I have a peculiar knack at Conversion, which very few, if any, ever could resist. I am going upon the same work into Murcia; but your good Character is fix'd me in my Resolution of preferring your Salvation to ...
— Military Memoirs of Capt. George Carleton • Daniel Defoe

... room, have you? Well, I dare say you won't be troubled. Some folks have a knack of seeing spirits, and ...
— New National Fourth Reader • Charles J. Barnes and J. Marshall Hawkes

... men were to engage in the business of pin-making, each making every part of every pin for himself, each man would probably complete but one pin in a day. But if each man makes one part, and nothing else but that, thus repeating incessantly a single series of motions, each will acquire the knack of working with such rapidity that the ten together will make daily, not ten pins, but some thousands. Here we have labour divided by its different applications, but not requiring different degrees of capacity. We have the average ...
— A Critical Examination of Socialism • William Hurrell Mallock

... and flowers of the poets," and the like. Epidius himself, a pedagogue of the progressive style, had doubtless proved an adept at this sort of thing. Claiming to be a descendant of an ancient hero who had one day transformed himself into a river-god, he must have had a knack for these tales. At any rate we are told that he wrote a book on metamorphosed trees.[4] When Octavius read the Culex, did he recognize in the quaint passage describing the shepherd's grove of metamorphosed trees (124-145) phrases from the ...
— Vergil - A Biography • Tenney Frank

... knack of making friends with any one, but I am more reserved and ideal in nature, so I simply cannot accommodate myself to such people and places ...
— Polly of Pebbly Pit • Lillian Elizabeth Roy

... rather only looked in them, than indeed said anything to them; but we will pass them and proceed. You have heard of the sins of his youth, of his apprenticeship, and how he set up, and married, and what a life he hath led his wife; and now I will tell you some more of his pranks. He had the very knack for knavery; had he, as I said before, been bound to serve an apprenticeship to all these things, he could not have been more cunning, he could not have ...
— The Works of John Bunyan • John Bunyan

... was in the day's calendar—for San Francisco had no knack of rising with the sun—Benito found the town awake, intensely active when he picked his way along the edge of those dangerous bogs that passed for business streets. Several polling places had been established. ...
— Port O' Gold • Louis John Stellman

... took her almost two hours each way. She said the kind of costume she required should have been corrugated steel. But all three knew what was being worn, and they wore it—or fairly faithful copies of it. Eva, the housekeeping sister, had a needle knack. She could skim the State Street windows and come away with a mental photograph of every separate tuck, hem, yoke, and ribbon. Heads of departments showed her the things they kept in drawers, and she went home and reproduced them with the ...
— One Basket • Edna Ferber

... fat constantly simmering in lye of ashes (see preceding paragraphs) for some days; adding fresh lye as fast as the water boils away, or is sucked up by the fat. After one or two trials, the knack of soap-making is easily caught. The presence of salt makes the soap hard; its absence, soft; now many ashes contain a good deal of salt, and these may make the soap too hard, and will have to be mixed with other sorts of ashes before being used: experience must ...
— The Art of Travel - Shifts and Contrivances Available in Wild Countries • Francis Galton

... sickness which I have so often seen shown by strong men. The skipper said: "We'll heave her to again. You'd better get below. Your pluck's all right, but an unlucky one might catch you, and you ain't got the knack of watching for an extra drop o' ...
— A Dream of the North Sea • James Runciman

... contained something pregnant about the Temperance question, or was a marvellously subtle analysis of the romantic movement in Germany. But surely to most of us it is sufficiently apparent that Browning was simply fashioning a ridiculous knick-knack, exactly as if he were actually moulding one of these preposterous German jugs. Now before studying the real character of this Browningesque style, there is one general truth to be recognised about Browning's work. It is this—that it is absolutely ...
— Robert Browning • G. K. Chesterton

... should be no fault of his if Titmouse easily forgot! He hardly knew why—but he disliked this particularly.—Whom had he, however, in the world, but Huckaback? In company with him alone, Titmouse felt that his pent-up feelings could discharge themselves. Huckaback had certainly a wonderful knack of keeping up Titmouse's spirits, whatever cause he fancied he might really have for depression. In short, he longed for the Sunday morning, ushering in a day of rest and sympathy. Titmouse would indeed then have to look back upon an agitating ...
— Ten Thousand a-Year. Volume 1. • Samuel Warren

... out their little arms to come to me; when I was a girl, I was half my leisure time nursing in the neighbouring cottages; but I don't know how it was, when I grew sad and grave—which I did a year or two after this time—the little things drew back from me, and I am afraid I lost the knack, though I am just as fond of children as ever, and have a strange yearning at my heart whenever I see a mother with her baby in her arms. Nay, my dear" (and by a sudden blaze which sprang up from a fall of the unstirred coals, I saw that her eyes were full of tears—gazing intently on some vision ...
— Cranford • Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

... recipients. He lent money, but expected to be repaid even by his brother-in-law. And this prudence helped to retain the confidence, while his sympathetic temperament secured the liking, of most. Again, he had the valuable knack of constantly replenishing the number of his friends among men junior to himself. His character attracted the liking of Sulla, who was twenty-seven years his senior, and he remained the close friend of his contemporaries Hortensius and Cicero (the former five years ...
— The Letters of Cicero, Volume 1 - The Whole Extant Correspodence in Chronological Order • Marcus Tullius Cicero

... marriage is never improbable. You women have a knack of tripping up the most unlikely subjects! In this case, I had the details from an old friend of mine. She happened to be stopping at the same hotel as Lenox at Zermatt. Then one morning he disappeared; and, as she had taken rather a fancy ...
— The Great Amulet • Maud Diver

... place, though by this time his "wind" had greatly failed. He would occasionally invite an old friend to take a quiet wrestle with him on the lawn, to keep up his skill, and perhaps to try some new "knack" of throwing. In the evening, he would sometimes indulge his visitors by reciting the old pastoral of "Damon and Phyllis," or singing his favourite song of "John Anderson my Joe." But his greatest glory amongst those with whom he was most intimate, ...
— Lives of the Engineers - The Locomotive. George and Robert Stephenson • Samuel Smiles

... worked hard at it. Naturally, one should never practice any technical difficulty too long at a stretch. Young players sometimes forget this. I know that staccato playing was not easy for me at one time. I believe a real staccato is inborn; a knack. I used to grumble about it to Joachim and he told me once that musically staccato did not have much value. His own, by the way, was very labored and heavy. He admitted that he had none. Wieniawski had such a wonderful staccato that one finds much ...
— Violin Mastery - Talks with Master Violinists and Teachers • Frederick H. Martens

... handicap ..." the therapist began. Then he grinned weakly and stopped. On the golf course, Stanton was impossibly good. It had taken him a little while to get the knack of it, but as soon as he got control of his club and knew the reactions of the ball, his score started plummeting. Now it was so low as to be almost ridiculous. One long drive to the green and one putt to the cup. An easy thirty-six strokes for eighteen holes! An occasional hole-in-one sometimes ...
— Anything You Can Do ... • Gordon Randall Garrett

... been glad to continue to the crack of doom. To smoke and sprawl and read a little, and exchange chit-chat, was poetry enough for him. So contented was he that his joy was apt to find an outlet in ditties and whistling—he possessed a slightly tuneful, rollicking knack at both—a proceeding which commonly culminated in his causing Selma to sit beside him on the sofa and be made much of, to the detriment ...
— Unleavened Bread • Robert Grant

... more amazing and disturbing to him because he could not remember the time or occasion when the knack of fluent ...
— The Dark Star • Robert W. Chambers

... Laurier had the infallible knack of adjusting his makeup, not always himself—to any occasion from which he could extract profitable publicity, or upon which he could do some charming thing for somebody else. He is reputed once to have worn overalls among a gang ...
— The Masques of Ottawa • Domino

... a knack for decoration, Sherm. I never dreamed you were artistic. Why didn't you tell us? That spray against the curtain is exquisite. Have you ever taken drawing lessons?" Marian was both surprised and interested to discover this unexpected talent in the ...
— Chicken Little Jane on the Big John • Lily Munsell Ritchie

... command of the small army which was now operating from the north along the railway line with Mafeking for its objective. Plumer is an officer of considerable experience in African warfare, a small, quiet, resolute man, with a knack of gently enforcing discipline upon the very rough material with which he had to deal. With his weak force—which never exceeded a thousand men, and was usually from six to seven hundred—he had to ...
— The Great Boer War • Arthur Conan Doyle

... suspicion anybody who indulges in it, whether he makes them the object of it or not. They bore with it, when turned against slavery, from one or two distinguished humorists, because its effectiveness was plain; but we doubt whether any man who had the knack of seeing the ludicrous side of things ever really won their confidence, partly owing to their own natural want of humor, and partly to their careful cultivation of a habit of solemnity of mind as the only ...
— Reflections and Comments 1865-1895 • Edwin Lawrence Godkin

... Chesterton is one of the best conversationalists of the day. Conversation is a queer thing; so many people talk without having anything to say; others have a great deal to say and never say it. Chesterton can undoubtedly talk well; he has a knack of finding subjects suitable to the company; though he does not talk very much of things of the day; he is naturally mostly interested in books. Given a kindred soul the two will talk and laugh ...
— Gilbert Keith Chesterton • Patrick Braybrooke

... me attention only because I have been sometimes thought an ingenious or pleasant essayist upon it. For I have had what, in many respects, I boldly call the misfortune, to set my words sometimes prettily together; not without a foolish vanity in the poor knack that I had of doing so: until I was heavily punished for this pride, by finding that many people thought of the words only, and cared nothing for their meaning. Happily, therefore, the power of using such pleasant language—if indeed it ever were mine—is passing away from ...
— Sesame and Lilies • John Ruskin

... knack of story-telling, but there you must yield to me, if you hearken attentively to what I am about to disclose, you will be convinced; it is a tale, my dear Boswell, which whether we consider the turnings and windings of fortune, ...
— Boswell's Correspondence with the Honourable Andrew Erskine, and His Journal of a Tour to Corsica • James Boswell

... sailors have a knack, Haul away, yo ho, boys, Of hauling down a Frenchman's jack 'Gainst any odds, you ...
— Newton Forster - The Merchant Service • Captain Frederick Marryat

... Hoskins i' them days had charge o' the Sunday-school boys. He was a short-sighted man, the Deacon, tho' that were hes misfortun'; but he had faults as well, an' wan o' these was a powerful knack o' droppin' off to sleep durin' sarmon-time. Hows'ever, he managed very tidily, for he knawed he was bound to wake hissel' so soon as he began to snore, an' then he'd start up sudden an' fetch the nighest boy a rousin' whistcuff 'pon the side o' the head to cover the ...
— The Astonishing History of Troy Town • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... music of 'Der Wildschuetz' is no less bright and unpretentious than that of 'Czar und Zimmermann'; in fact, these two works may be taken as good specimens of Lortzing's engaging talent. His strongest points are a clever knack of treating the voices contrapuntally in concerted pieces, and a humorous trick of orchestration, two features with which English audiences have become pleasantly familiar in Sir Arthur Sullivan's operettas, which works indeed owe not ...
— The Opera - A Sketch of the Development of Opera. With full Descriptions - of all Works in the Modern Repertory • R.A. Streatfeild

... faithful to Pepita and the grandmother. He had a body as big as an ox, and a heart as big as his body, but he was slow and dull in everything but one thing—that was his carpenter work. He was well enough at that, and more than well enough, for he had always had a fancy and a knack for it from the time when as a boy he had worked in his uncle's vineyards and tilled his fields and fed his beasts. His uncle had been counted a rich man among his neighbors, but when his sister and her husband died and left ...
— The Pretty Sister Of Jose - 1889 • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... a vague feeling that he had some sort of an appointment which he must keep; but he was unable to think what it was. Meanwhile, he conducted tentative experiments with his breath. It was so long since he had last breathed that he had lost the knack ...
— The Girl on the Boat • Pelham Grenville Wodehouse

... a woman could have done it easily," the Colonel declared, "only unfortunately there don't seem to have been any women about. Why, I've seen it done in Korea with a turn of the wrist. It's all knack." ...
— The Avenger • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... madame has a knack of making herself comfortable. I have seldom seen a cosier retreat on a broiling summer's day, and in this dusty, dirty town. She has not breakfasted yet, nor, except for my cup of coffee, have I. I will do myself the pleasure of joining her. A cutlet ...
— The Thin Red Line; and Blue Blood • Arthur Griffiths

... more than two centuries ago; but the Tregeagle or Tergagle of legend belongs to folk-lore rather than to modern social life. Very old ideas and superstitions have in some manner become attached to a recent name; tradition has a knack of bringing forward its dates; stories of immemorial antiquity are related as though they were the experience of the narrator's father or grandfather, and are modernised to suit that supposition. Legend never sticks at absurdity or anachronism. From some versions of the story it would appear that ...
— The Cornwall Coast • Arthur L. Salmon

... of his cousin, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and the reminiscences or family traditions of her grand-daughter, Lady Louisa Stuart. But Lady Mary, vivacious and agreeable as she is, had with all her talent a very considerable knack of writing for effect, of drawing strong contrasts and the like; and it is not quite certain that she saw very much of Fielding in the last and most interesting third of his life. Another witness, Horace ...
— Joseph Andrews Vol. 1 • Henry Fielding

... Invisibility, by any Natural Expedient, yet known, is, I Believe, a meer PLINYISM; How far it may be obtained by a Magical Sacrament, is best known to the Dangerous Knaves that have try'd it. But our Witches do seem to have got the knack: and this is one of the Things, that make me think, Witchcraft will not be fully understood, until the day when there shall not be ...
— The Wonders of the Invisible World • Cotton Mather

... the Indians was very simple and the game was soon learned, but the knack of catching the disks in the pan proved quite difficult. John undertook it, with the result that he spilled every one of them out when they fell in the shallow bowl, much to ...
— The Young Alaskans on the Trail • Emerson Hough

... a slight chill on the company, but Mrs. Ballinger said with an air of indulgent irony: "Mrs. Roby always has the knack of making a little go a long way; still, we certainly owe her a debt for happening to remember that she'd heard of Xingu." And this was felt by the other members to be a graceful way of cancelling once for all the ...
— The Early Short Fiction of Edith Wharton, Part 2 (of 10) • Edith Wharton

... Co.'s Tea from the circumstance of it's never having either odor or flavor. We find, after ample experience, that the presence of either of these qualities directly injures the sale. Give it plenty of Astringency (an easy knack) and it will be sure to go down in this country. It is our experience (and that of many other Operators of our kind—or upon our kind, if you prefer the phrase,) that people like to be imposed upon, and can always ...
— Punchinello, Vol. 1, Issue 10 • Various

... golden light by the lamps of the piazza. Those marble countenances were placid with an eternal youth, beneath the same stars that had embellished irrevocable nights, that recalled some excursions into an enchanted world, some romantic gestures the knack ...
— The Best Short Stories of 1920 - and the Yearbook of the American Short Story • Various

... went on found occasion to apply his knowledge in the household and the courts, there was little else for any one to do than engage in farming, fishing, and trading with the Indians, or turn carpenter and cobbler according to demand. The artisan became a farmer, though still preserving his knack as a craftsman, and expended his skill and his muscle in subduing a ...
— The Fathers of New England - A Chronicle of the Puritan Commonwealths • Charles M. Andrews

... though he thought me a mind-reader, but I fancy the knack of divining when people need a confidant is preternaturally developed ...
— The Love Affairs of an Old Maid • Lilian Bell

... The superintendent had a knack of putting seemingly irrelevant questions. Robinson had been disconcerted by it earlier in the day, but Grant seemed to treat the interruption ...
— The Postmaster's Daughter • Louis Tracy

... encouraged by overhearing the Duke of Argyll, who sat in the next box to us, say, 'It will do—it must do! I see it in the eyes of them.' This was a good while before the first act was over, and so gave us ease soon; for that Duke (besides his own good taste) has a particular knack, as any one now living, in discovering the taste of the public. He was quite right in this, as usual; the good-nature of the audience appeared stronger and stronger every act, and ended in ...
— Lives of the Poets: Gay, Thomson, Young, and Others • Samuel Johnson

... of all kind of things dat dey have dese days, but somehow it look like dey have a knack of gettin along better wid what dey have den. Didn' have no stoves to cook on in dem days. Cook in clay oven en on de fireplace. Make up fire en when it die down, dey put tatoes (potatoes) in de oven en let em stay dere all night. My God, won' nothin no ...
— Slave Narratives Vol. XIV. South Carolina, Part 1 • Various

... or light, or weight, or care; Pour the full tide of eloquence along, Serenely pure, and yet divinely strong; Prune the luxuriant, the uncouth refine, But show no mercy to an empty line; Then polish all with so much life and ease, You think 'tis nature, and a knack to please; But ease in writing flows from art, not chance, As those move easiest ...
— Horace • William Tuckwell

... draughtsman, now, I could do something much better for you. I intend to set up a shop for ornamental carving, and I want some one to draw patterns. If you had a knack at designing, if you could ...
— The Stillwater Tragedy • Thomas Bailey Aldrich

... Auto-Comrade hates a flabby brain almost as much as he hates a flabby body. He soon makes it clear that he will not have much to do with any one who has not yet mastered the vigorous and highly complex art of not worrying. Also, he demands of his companion the knack of calm, consecutive thought. This is one reason why so many more Auto-Comrades are to be found in crow's-nests, gypsy-vans, and shirt-waist factories than on upper Fifth Avenue. For, watching the stars and the sea from a swaying masthead, taking light-heartedly to the open road, or even operating ...
— The Joyful Heart • Robert Haven Schauffler

... Lumbering and logging are the two great occupations of the Western Canadian winter, and what you see here is the fruit of that work. Terribly hard work it is too. Swinging an axe all day among the great giants of the forest requires knack as well as strength, and when a man first starts that game he quickly finds he is as weak as a baby till his muscles get hardened to it. When cut down the trunks are dragged to any stream, or creek, as they call them here, to be drifted ...
— Round the Wonderful World • G. E. Mitton

... Gliding up gracefully on his own snowshoes to the struggling lad, he would reach down and, seizing him under the arms, would quickly lift him up and once more place him on his feet amidst the laughter of the others. Thus they practiced and fell, tried again and again, until the knack was accomplished and they could get ...
— Winter Adventures of Three Boys • Egerton R. Young

... shooting began. The rabbits bolted well, and Howard experienced a lively satisfaction, quite out of proportion, he felt, to the circumstances, at finding that he could shoot a great deal better than his pupil. The old knack came back to him, and he toppled over his rabbits cleanly and in ...
— Watersprings • Arthur Christopher Benson

... matter of strength, but of knack. The power of the onrushing bull actually supplied all the strength which was necessary. Dan Collins twisted. The animal's wrinkled neck turned. It could not help turning, for the pain at its nostrils ...
— In the Musgrave Ranges • Jim Bushman

... Percivals. Her head had no mercy for such an utter want of ambition and energy, but the heart plays often a bigger part than the head in an estimate of a fellow-creature, and Darsie's heart had a way of making excuses for the handsome truant, who smiled with such beguiling eyes, had such a pretty knack of compliment, and was—generally!—ready to play knight-errant in her service. She felt herself lucky in possessing so charming a friend to act the part of gallant, and to be at her service when she chose to call. And then quite suddenly she drew a sharp ...
— A College Girl • Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

... Medicines for Dyspepsia," which was popular and profitable. But I was saying Madame Bill was a handsome woman, and valuable, and Flannagan himself hadn't a better eye for giving the public sensations. She expanded his ideas. Yet Flannagan had a knack. He was grand at speech-making, and sudden ...
— The Belted Seas • Arthur Colton

... of structure. He maintains that the turning-point of good or bad Latinity is, not idiom, as Mr. White says, but structure. Then Mr. Black, the father, is led on to speak of himself, and of his youthful studies; and he ends by giving Harry a history of his own search after the knack of writing Latin. I do not see quite how this is to the point of Mr. White's paper, which cannot be said to contradict Mr. Black's narrative; but for this very reason, I may consistently quote it, for from a different point of view it may ...
— The Idea of a University Defined and Illustrated: In Nine - Discourses Delivered to the Catholics of Dublin • John Henry Newman

... to me that it ought to be far less pessimistic than it is, also, about what we can do in the way of schools and social life in civilisation and about civilisation's way of doing business. Is our little knack of Christianity (I find myself wondering) quite worthy of all this attention it is getting from The American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions? Why should it approve of civilisation with a rush? Does any one really suppose that it is really time to pat it on the ...
— The Lost Art of Reading • Gerald Stanley Lee

... need—particularly if she be a woman who insists, as I do, upon her indefeasible right to sing bass. I know that it helps things along for a woman to look after a man's linen and buttons, and do his fine work generally, because she seems to have a kind of natural knack at the business. I am aware that it is exceedingly pleasant to hear a woman sing treble, if she sings it well, but I am talking, be it remembered, of woman's right to sing bass. Let us stick ...
— Lessons in Life - A Series of Familiar Essays • Timothy Titcomb

... things to do in the cultivation of Attention is to learn to think of, and do, one thing at a time. Acquiring the "knack" or habit of attending closely to the things before us, and then passing on to the next and treating it in the same way, is most conducive to success, and its practice is the best exercise for the cultivation of the faculty of Attention. And on the contrary, there is nothing more ...
— A Series of Lessons in Raja Yoga • Yogi Ramacharaka

... Prefet, a certain knack which I had the opportunity of employing in Africa on more than one occasion. Hence my nickname of Arsene Lupin. It was soon after the death of the man himself, you know, and he was much spoken of ...
— The Teeth of the Tiger • Maurice Leblanc

... of Chicago at this time sat a man named Walden H. Lucas. Aged thirty-eight, he was politically ambitious. He had the elements of popularity—the knack or luck of fixing public attention. A fine, upstanding, healthy young buck he was, subtle, vigorous, a cool, direct, practical thinker and speaker, an eager enigmatic dreamer of great political honors to come, anxious ...
— The Titan • Theodore Dreiser

... knack of monopolising Hubert, and since his return from London, her desire to do so had become almost a determination. Hubert showed no disinclination, and after breakfast they were to be seen together in the gardens. Hubert was a great catch, ...
— Vain Fortune • George Moore

... seated herself on the fender-stool. She has an unconscious knack of getting into easy, ...
— The Red Planet • William J. Locke

... office, I have had some of our ablest remaining scientific brains working on the problem of building a new ship. They have not been successful." He laid his gloved hands, palms upward, on the desk, added, "It appears that we have lost the knack for ...
— It's All Yours • Sam Merwin

... around the city are numerous exasperating sand islands, exposed to view at low tide. The amateur gondolier seeks this lagoon, to be safe from scoffers at his clumsy rowing, and often, right in the midst of his "getting the knack of it," the tide leaves him stuck fast on a sand island, ...
— Harper's Young People, March 16, 1880 - An Illustrated Weekly • Various

... thing happens. All of a sudden I get more interested in packing chocolates than anything else on earth. A little knack or twist comes to me—my fingers fly (for me). I forget Tessie. I forget the time. I forget my feet. How many boxes can I pack to-day? That is all I can think of. I don't want to hear the noon bell. I can't wait to get back after lunch. ...
— Working With the Working Woman • Cornelia Stratton Parker

... Mohammed, which obliged us with its own peculiar gusts; and the 'Akabah Gulf, as usual, acted wind-sail. A long dtour was necessary in order to spare the mules, which, however, are much less liable to injury, under such circumstances, than horses, having a knack of learning ...
— The Land of Midian, Vol. 1 • Richard Burton

... fudge, too, which Nancy had the knack of making. The chums had a chafing dish hidden away, and this was brought forth and the ingredients made ready, while Nancy hovered over the dish ...
— A Little Miss Nobody - Or, With the Girls of Pinewood Hall • Amy Bell Marlowe

... charge and the guiding spirit amongst them. Carberry from Western Australia proved his worth in another manner. The 4th Brigade were some distance up the gully and greatly in want of water. Carberry seems to have the knack of divining, for he selected a spot where water was obtained after sinking. General Monash drew my attention to this, and Carberry ...
— Five Months at Anzac • Joseph Lievesley Beeston

... fellow, and he had a knack of turning up whenever one wanted to do a civil thing by that poor girl. Where is ...
— The Trial - or, More Links of the Daisy Chain • Charlotte M. Yonge

... "You've got a knack," he said, almost graciously, "of putting a fellow in a good humour with ...
— Peter's Mother • Mrs. Henry De La Pasture

... knew of weapons which seemed to possess personal skill and ferocity. Later, workmen found that certain tools had a knack of fitting smoothly in the hand—seeming even to divine the grain of the wood they worked on. The individual characteristics of violins were notorious, so that a violin which sang joyously under the ...
— The Machine That Saved The World • William Fitzgerald Jenkins

... not always pleasant. In heavy weather the stern of the ship has an unwholesome knack of jumping into the air and shaking itself like the tail of a dog. It is disconcerting, to say the least of it, particularly when the water sweeps its way aft along the upper deck in solid masses which no so-called watertight ventilator ...
— Stand By! - Naval Sketches and Stories • Henry Taprell Dorling

... agreeable stowage he has now grown to plumpness. When in the country Colum rises early in order to stretch the pleasures of the day, and he walks about before breakfast from tree to tree to view his feathered tenants. He has even acquired, after much practice, the knack of chirping—a hissing conjunction of the lips and teeth—which he is confident wins the friendly ...
— Chimney-Pot Papers • Charles S. Brooks

... education. From his youth up he had lived in Oxford, and from the time he was able to know anything, within the purlieus of a college, from whence he had gleaned up a few Latin sentences, scraps of poetry, and as the masterpiece of his improvements, had acquired a good knack of punning. All these mighty qualifications were bent to keep a good house, and drinking two or three quarts of strong ale, accompanied with a song, and two or three hours' scraping at night. The mother, again, was the last remnant of a decayed family, who charged its ruin on the Civil Wars. ...
— Lives Of The Most Remarkable Criminals Who have been Condemned and Executed for Murder, the Highway, Housebreaking, Street Robberies, Coining or other offences • Arthur L. Hayward

... and decide on what you wish the picture to be. And having decided this, work straight on, using nature to support your original impression, but don't be led off by a fresh scheme because others strike you as you go along. New schemes will do so, of course, and every new one has a knack of looking better than your original one. But it is not often that this is so; the fact that they are new makes them appear to greater advantage than the original scheme to which you have got accustomed. ...
— The Practice and Science Of Drawing • Harold Speed

... inquiry at Doolittle, who was a shorter and stouter man, with a knack of getting over ...
— Hilda Wade - A Woman With Tenacity Of Purpose • Grant Allen

... however, he was not long suffered to enjoy. The curate happened that day to dine with him: his visits, indeed, were more properly to the aunt than the nephew; and many of the intelligent ladies in the parish, who, like some very great philosophers, have the happy knack at accounting for everything, gave out that there was a particular attachment between them, which wanted only to be matured by some more years of courtship to end in the tenderest connection. In this conclusion, ...
— The Man of Feeling • Henry Mackenzie

... extremely harsh treatment Ravenscroft has met with at the hands of the critics it may be worth while emphasizing Genest's opinion that his 'merit as a dramatic writer has been vastly underrated'. Ravenscroft has a facility in writing, an ease of dialogue, a knack of evoking laughter and picturing the ludicrous, above all a vitality which many a greater name entirely lacks. As a writer of farce, and farce very nearly akin to comedy, he ...
— The Works of Aphra Behn, Vol. I (of 6) • Aphra Behn

... person has a great knack at finding out feats of legerdemain, you may pronounce him a blockhead. I never knew a clever man who was worth a ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, No. 583 - Volume 20, Number 583, Saturday, December 29, 1832 • Various



Words linked to "Knack" :   bent, talent, endowment, hang



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