you could cut it with a knife

you could cut it with a knife

Alluding to something very thick, such as muggy air or a heavy accent; also, a very tense atmosphere. For example, The smoke was so thick you could cut it with a knife, or When I walked in they all stopped talking and you could cut the air with a knife. [Colloquial; late 1800s]
See also: could, cut, knife
References in classic literature ?
I have heard of many going astray even in the village streets, when the darkness was so thick that you could cut it with a knife, as the saying is.
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