adjective, knot·ti·er, knot·ti·est.

having knots; full of knots: a knotty piece of wood.
involved, intricate, or difficult: a knotty problem.

Nearby words

  1. knothole,
  2. knotroot,
  3. knotted,
  4. knotter,
  5. knotting,
  6. knotty rhatany,
  7. knotweed,
  8. knotwork,
  9. knout,
  10. know

Origin of knotty

First recorded in 1200–50, knotty is from the Middle English word cnotti. See knot1, -y1

Related formsknot·ti·ly, adverbknot·ti·ness, nounun·knot·ty, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for knottiness


adjective -tier or -tiest

(of wood, rope, etc) full of or characterized by knots
extremely difficult or intricate
Derived Formsknottily, adverbknottiness, noun

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 knottiness



mid-13c. (figurative use early 13c.), from knot (n.) + -y (2). Related: Knottiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper