Shiv vs. Shank

As my friend Seth proposed via twitter, what's the difference between a shiv and a shank?

And I am here with answers for you all! There is a subtle difference:

Shiv, n: a slang term for something that can be used as knife.

Shank, n: a slang term for a knife that's typically made from something else. A shank can be considered a type of shiv.

So bottom line is that they are both types of homemade knives. A shiv, though, is usually made from something already sharp, like it can be a razor blade attached to the handle of a toothbrush. A shank, however, would be the end of a toothbrush handle meticulously filed down to a sharp point. Make sense?

Hope that helps. :)


  1. Well u r not wrong and u basically implied the closer meanings of shiv and shank, one is for cutting and the other is for stabbing respectively

  2. You are wrong.
    Shiv is the noun
    Shank is the adjective

    You shank someone, with a shiv.

    1. Thanks for the comment! However, in your sentence, "shank" is used as a verb, not as an adjective.

      In the dictionary as of now (maybe your version is slang and will one day be in the dictionary), "shank" is only defined as a noun, with the exception of the golf term "to shank", sending the ball the wrong direction.

      Just FYI. :)

    2. Lol
      You must have excelled at grammar in school, lol lol
      Yes, you can stab somebody with a shank.

    3. Hey whats the slang word for dictionary?

      Oh, there isn't one? I should have figured.

    4. The slang term for dictionary shall henceforth be known as "Bigity Wordity Bookity."

  3. Actually, a shiv is a homemade weapon that has a BLADE and can be used for CUTTING. A shank is a homemade weapon that does NOT have a blade but has a pointed tip and can be used for STABBING but not cutting.

  4. I'd say that "shiv" is not a common word
    "shank" is very common though in prison.
    I did some time and everybody (inmates/guards) speaks of shanks there, I never heard "shiv" at all. They would randomly wake you up and search your cell like at 3 AM (sucks to be woken up at 3 AM) looking for drugs/shanks/hooch. I never had any contraband so I and my cellmate were model prisoners in a way and never were in trouble.

    1. You seem like a real winner.

  5. I know a guy in India named Shivshankar. So, he has both covered.

  6. For a definitive answer, go here: http://ulyssesmcqueen.blogspot.com/2012/11/shiv-vs-shank.html