Although best known as one of man’s earliest tools, knives also are one of man’s earliest inspirations for memorable quotes. Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin used knife sayings as metaphors for preparedness and inner virtue. The founder of Taoism used a knife’s blade to discuss the perils of focusing on one thing, while the Greeks used an axe to illustrate a metaphysical paradox.

Many quotes also center on how it’s the owner, not the blade, that’s the most important thing about a knife. And, of course, there’s that funny scene in “Crocodile Dundee.”

10 Popular Knife Sayings

Knife quotes and knife sayings are as versatile as knives themselves. See the following 10 knife sayings, which rank among some of the best.

“A knife is only as good as the one who wields it.” Patrick Ness, American-British author and lecturer.

“Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.” Lao Tzu, a 6th century BC Chinese philosopher, writer and founder of Taoism.

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“Knives are like credit cards; don’t leave home without ‘em and always carry several.” Richard Marcinko, first commander of Navy SEAL Team Six.

“There was never a good knife made of bad steel.” Ben Franklin, one of the nation’s Founding Fathers.

What are Knife Handles Made Of?

“The knife is the most permanent, the most immortal, the most ingenious of all man’s creations.”   Yevgeny Zamyatin, Russian author who lived from 1884 to 1937 and is best known for the anti-communist science-fiction novel “We,” which was banned by the Soviet Union in 1921.

“If I get eight hours to cut a tree, I’ll take seven hours to sharpen my knife.” Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States.

“Among my Dad’s generation, when you gave another man a pocketknife as a gift, it was a show of respect. I’ll still give someone the knife out of my pocket.” Christopher Stapleton, an American singer, songwriter and record producer.

“This is the axe my grandfather made, my father replaced the handle, and I replaced the blade.” Saying credited to Greek philosophy, used to illustrate a central paradox in the metaphysics of identity: Is something still the same object if all its parts are replaced over time? It’s even brought up in studies on DNA.

“That’s not a knife…that’s a knife.” Paul Hogan in “Crocodile Dundee.”

“Remember, it’s never the knife’s fault.” Daniel Boulud, a French chef with restaurants around the world.

6 Knife Traditions You’ve Never Heard of

These are some of the most interesting knife sayings, from the philosophical to the funny. They prove that knives, while always the best tool a person can carry, also provide plenty of food for thought.