What is the ‘knife rule’? Little-known superstition is making its way around TikTok

People on TikTok have been talking a lot lately about the so-called “knife rule,” but not everyone seems to be clear on what it actually means.

According to Indy100, the “knife rule” refers to an old superstition that claims it’s bad luck to close a pocket knife that someone else has opened.

Naturally, if someone hands you a pocket knife they’ve already opened, it isn’t exactly the safest exchange to begin with. Ideally, they would hand it to you closed, and after using it, you would hand it back to them closed. But if, for some reason, the hand-off happens when the knife is open, well, superstition dictates that you return it in the same fashion.

As for what will actually happen if you ignore the knife rule? That depends.


The belief only states that it will cause you bad luck, but just how long that bad luck will supposedly last — or what will happen to you — is unclear.

In many of the videos, a TikToker will claim that they were handed back a closed knife by someone who didn’t know the knife rule, and things “haven’t been the same since.” As for what exactly has changed, though, the creator never really elaborates.

“I close every knife people hand me just to cause chaos!” a commenter joked on one of the videos.

Others have asked why you would even be in a situation like this in the first place.

“I was raised to never hand someone an open knife,” one person wrote.

“WHY are so many people handing people open knives!???” asked another.

A lot of comments have also come from confused TikTokers who have no idea what the knife rule even is.

“Please wtf does this mean,” one person pleaded.

“someone explain please,” added another.

Plenty of other users have chimed in to dismiss the whole “knife rule” thing as a farce and ask what the big deal was anyway. Others have joked that their luck is already bad, so it can’t get much worse from here.

And at least one user attempted to shut down the legitimacy of old wives’ tales in the first place by sharing his own story.

“Lived with multiple black cats for years back in the day,” the commenter wrote. “y’all gonna be ok.”

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