1. a projecting part, usually rounded, forming the handle of a door, drawer, or the like.
  2. a rounded lump or protuberance on the surface or at the end of something, as a knot on a tree trunk.
  3. Architecture. an ornamental boss, as of carved work.
  4. a rounded hill, mountain, or elevation on a ridge.
verb (used with object), knobbed, knob·bing.
  1. to produce a knob on.
  2. to furnish with a knob.
  3. (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 formsknob·like, adjective
Can be confusedknob nob Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for knobs

Contemporary Examples of knobs

Historical Examples of knobs

  • In short, it reminds one of Bardolph's face—'all bubukles and whelks and knobs.'

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for knobs


  1. a rounded projection from a surface, such as a lump on a tree trunk
  2. a handle of a door, drawer, etc, esp one that is rounded
  3. a round hill or knoll or morainic ridge
  4. British taboo a slang word for penis
  5. and the same to you with knobs on or and the same to you with brass knobs on British informal the same to you but even more so
verb knobs, knobbing or knobbed
  1. (tr) to supply or ornament with knobs
  2. (intr) to form into a knob; bulge
  3. British taboo to have sexual intercourse with (someone)
Derived Formsknobby, adjectiveknoblike, adjective

Word Origin for knob

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

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

knobs in Science


  1. A prominent, rounded hill or mountain.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.