• noun a knife. An alternative rendering of chiv, a Romany word used in British underworld and low-life milieus since the 17th century. In the 20th century the word was used (also in the USA) to mean any bladed weapon, including homemade knives and razors. Shiv was also used as a verb, particularly in the argot of street gangs of the 1950s and early 1960s.