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[nob] /nɒb/
a projecting part, usually rounded, forming the handle of a door, drawer, or the like.
a rounded lump or protuberance on the surface or at the end of something, as a knot on a tree trunk.
Architecture. an ornamental boss, as of carved work.
a rounded hill, mountain, or elevation on a ridge.
verb (used with object), knobbed, knobbing.
to produce a knob on.
to furnish with a knob.
(in stone cutting) to knock off (excess stone) preparatory to dressing; knobble; skiffle.
Origin of knob
1350-1400; Middle English knobbe < Middle Low German
Related forms
knoblike, adjective
Can be confused
knob, nob. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for knobs
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In short, it reminds one of Bardolph's face—'all bubukles and whelks and knobs.'

    The Book-Hunter at Home P. B. M. Allan
  • He took a piece of charcoal, as he spoke, and brought it into contact with two of the knobs.

    Post Haste R.M. Ballantyne
  • Fig. 225 shows the edge of the door with the three knobs in place.

  • Buckstone gives notice of the thieving knobs University job.

    The Gilded Age, Complete Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner
  • She opened all the drawers, pressed all the knobs in the carved brasswork.

  • Anklet with two knobs, formed of two pieces screwed together.

  • So that,” he thought to himself as the elevator crept upward, “is knobs!

    The Firebug Roy J. Snell
  • What if knobs and the hooked nose man with the limp were in a partnership of crime?

    The Firebug Roy J. Snell
British Dictionary definitions for knobs


a rounded projection from a surface, such as a lump on a tree trunk
a handle of a door, drawer, etc, esp one that is rounded
a round hill or knoll or morainic ridge
(Brit, taboo) a slang word for penis
(Brit, informal) and the same to you with knobs on, and the same to you with brass knobs on, the same to you but even more so
verb knobs, knobbing, knobbed
(transitive) to supply or ornament with knobs
(intransitive) to form into a knob; bulge
(Brit, taboo) to have sexual intercourse with (someone)
Derived Forms
knobby, adjective
knoblike, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Middle Low German knobbe knot in wood; see knop
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for knobs



late 14c., knobe, probably from a Scandinavian or German source (cf. Middle Low German knobbe "knob," Middle Dutch cnoppe, Dutch knop, Old Frisian knopp, knapp, Old High German knopf, German Knopf "button," Old Norse knyfill "short horn"). Meaning "knoll, isolated round hill" is first recorded 1640s, especially in U.S.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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knobs in Science
A prominent, rounded hill or mountain.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for knobs



A woman's breasts or nipples; knockers (1970s+)

Related Terms

with bells on



  1. The head: Can you get that through your ugly knob? (1725+)
  2. A despised person; dork, jerk, prick: Don't they know what a knob he is? (1990s+)

[knob, ''penis,'' was British use in the 1800s, according to Tony Thorne]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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