stiletto

A killer in an old British mystery novel might carry a stiletto — a long, sharp, needle-like knife that's used for stabbing.

Whether denoting a small dagger, a high heel, or sharp-pointed tool, this word from Italian always means business. It follows the rule, reliable ninety percent of the time, when doubts arise about spelling Italian imports: the double consonant follows the accented syllable. The root is the Latin word stilus, which means "pointed writing instrument."

Definitions of stiletto
  1. noun
    a small dagger with a tapered blade
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    type of:
    dagger, sticker
    a short knife with a pointed blade used for piercing or stabbing
  2. noun
    a shoe with a very thin, very high heel
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    type of:
    shoe
    footwear shaped to fit the foot (below the ankle) with a flexible upper of leather or plastic and a sole and heel of heavier material
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