verb (used with object), knot·ted, knot·ting.

verb (used without object), knot·ted, knot·ting.

to become tied or tangled in a knot.
to form knots or joints.


    tie the knot, Informal. to marry: They will tie the knot in November.

Origin of knot

before 1000; (noun) Middle English knot(te), Old English cnotta; cognate with Dutch knot, German knoten to knit; (v.) Middle English, derivative of the noun
Related formsknot·less, adjectiveknot·like, adjective
Can be confusedknot not

Synonyms for knot




either of two large sandpipers, Calidris canutus or C. tenuirostris, that breed in the Arctic and winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

Origin of knot

1425–75; late Middle English; origin uncertain
Also called grayback. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for knot

Contemporary Examples of knot

Historical Examples of knot

British Dictionary definitions for knot




any of various fastenings formed by looping and tying a piece of rope, cord, etc, in upon itself, to another piece of rope, or to another object
a prescribed method of tying a particular knot
a tangle, as in hair or string
a decorative bow or fastening, as of ribbon or braid
a small cluster or huddled group
a tie or bondthe marriage knot
a difficult problem
a protuberance or lump of plant tissues, such as that occurring on the trunks of certain trees
  1. a hard mass of wood at the point where a branch joins the trunk of a tree
  2. a cross section of this, usually roundish and cross-grained, visible in a piece of timber
a sensation of constriction, caused by tension or nervousnesshis stomach was tying itself in knots
  1. pathola lump of vessels or fibres formed in a part, as in a muscle
  2. anatomya protuberance on an organ or part
a unit of speed used by nautical vessels and aircraft, being one nautical mile (about 1.15 statute miles or 1.85 km) per hour
one of a number of equally spaced knots on a log line used to indicate the speed of a ship in nautical miles per hour
at a rate of knots very fast
tie someone in knots to completely perplex or confuse someone
tie the knot informal to get married

verb knots, knotting or knotted

(tr) to tie or fasten in a knot
to form or cause to form into a knot
(tr) to ravel or entangle or become ravelled or entangled
(tr) to make (an article or a design) by tying thread in an interlaced pattern of ornamental knots, as in macramé
Derived Formsknotter, nounknotless, adjectiveknotlike, adjective

Word Origin for knot

Old English cnotta; related to Old High German knoto, Old Norse knūtr




a small northern sandpiper, Calidris canutus, with a short bill and grey plumage

Word Origin for knot

C15: of unknown origin
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 knot

Old English cnotta "intertwining of ropes, cords, etc.," from Proto-Germanic *knuttan- (cf. Low German knütte, Old Frisian knotta "knot," Dutch knot, Old High German knoto, German Knoten, perhaps also Old Norse knutr "knot, knob"). Figurative sense of "difficult problem" was in Old English (cf. Gordian knot). Symbolic of the bond of wedlock, early 13c. As an ornament of dress, first attested c.1400. Meaning "thickened part or protuberance on tissue of a plant" is from late 14c. The nautical unit of measure (1630s) is from the practice of attaching knotted string to the log line. The ship's speed can be measured by the number of knots that play out while the sand glass is running.

The distance between the knots on the log-line should contain 1/120 of a mile, supposing the glass to run exactly half a minute. [Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa, "A Voyage to South America" 1760]

"to tie in a knot," mid-15c., from knot (n.). Related: Knotted (late 12c.), knotting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

knot in Medicine




A compact intersection of interlaced material, as of cord, ribbon, or rope.
A protuberant growth or swelling in a tissue, such as a gland.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with knot


see tie into knots; tie the knot.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.