What is an alternative term for Swiss army knife?

As in a general multi-purpose tool. It is a word that everybody understands, but I would like to know some alternatives.

Clarification: The term Swiss army knife is often used to express a multi-purpose, versatile tool outside the contexts of knives or armies.

  • The Swiss army knife for writing books.
  • Perl is the Swiss army knife among programming languages.
  • Swiss army knife of codecs (Google's search entry completion).

I think that "multi-tool" or "one stop shop" are adequate alternative, maybe there are more?

  • Thank you for your answers and images but it were not the answers I was hoping for. I have updated my question.
    – dr jerry
    Aug 31, 2011 at 10:58

3 Answers 3


You might say multi-tool.

A multi-tool (or multitool) is any one of a range of portable, versatile hand tools that combines several individual functions in a single unit. -- from Wikipedia


Pocketknife is the most common term for this type of tool. All Swiss Army knives are pocketknives:


But multi-tool would work, too, especially if the tool in question is not a pocketknife:

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  • Thank you for the pics, really helpful especially "for a word that everybody understands"
    – dr jerry
    Aug 31, 2011 at 11:09

Wikipedia seems to give the answer quite clearly when it defines what a Swiss army knife is:

A Swiss Army knife .... is a pocket knife or multi-tool manufactured by Victorinox AG or Wenger SA.

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