noun (1)
\ ˈnät How to pronounce knot (audio) \

Definition of knot

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : an interlacement of the parts of one or more flexible bodies forming a lump or knob (as for fastening or tying together)
b : the lump or knob so formed
c : a tight constriction or the sense of constriction my stomach was all in knots
2 : something hard to solve : problem a matter full of legal knots
3 : a bond of union especially : the marriage bond
4a : a protuberant lump or swelling in tissue a knot in a gland
b : the base of a woody branch enclosed in the stem from which it arises also : its section in lumber
5 : a cluster of persons or things : group
6 : an ornamental bow of ribbon : cockade
7a : a division of the log's line serving to measure a ship's speed
b(1) : one nautical mile per hour
(2) : one nautical mile not used technically
8 : a closed curve in three-dimensional space


knotted; knotting

Definition of knot (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to tie in or with a knot : form knots in
2 : to unite closely or intricately : entangle
3 : tie sense 4b knotted the score

intransitive verb

: to form knots


noun (2)
plural knots or knot

Definition of knot (Entry 3 of 3)

: either of two sandpipers (Calidris canutus and C. tenuirostris) that breed in the Arctic and winter in temperate or warm parts of the New and Old World

Illustration of knot

Illustration of knot

Noun (1)

knot 1b: 1 Blackwall hitch, 2 carrick bend, 3 clove hitch, 4 cat's-paw, 5 figure eight, 6 granny knot, 7 bowline, 8 overhand knot, 9 fisherman's bend, 10 half hitch, 11 square knot, 12 slipknot, 13 stevedore knot, 14 true lover's knot, 15 surgeon's knot, 16 Turk's head, 17 sheet bend, 18 timber hitch, 19 seizing, 20 rolling hitch, 21 sheepshank

In the meaning defined above

Other Words from knot


knotter noun

Examples of knot in a Sentence

Verb He knotted his tie so that both ends would be the same length. the extension cords were hopelessly knotted together

First Known Use of knot

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1547, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for knot

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English cnotta; akin to Old High German knoto knot

Noun (2)

Middle English knott

Learn More About knot

Time Traveler for knot

Time Traveler

The first known use of knot was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near knot



knot bindweed

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for knot

Cite this Entry

“Knot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for knot


\ ˈnät How to pronounce knot (audio) \

Kids Definition of knot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a section of rope or string that has been tied together to form a lump or knob or to keep something secure
2 : tangle entry 2 sense 1 Comb the knots out of your hair.
3 : a painful or uncomfortable area in a body part I had knots in my stomach.
4 : a cluster of persons or things Down the table, the … ladies drew into a knot, to confer.— Richard Peck, A Year Down Yonder
5 : the inner end of a woody branch enclosed in a plant stem or a section of this in sawed lumber
6 : one nautical mile per hour (about two kilometers per hour)


knotted; knotting

Kids Definition of knot (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to tie together in a way that cannot be easily untied I knotted my shoelaces.
2 : to become tense or tight My stomach knotted while I waited for the dentist.


\ ˈnät How to pronounce knot (audio) \

Medical Definition of knot

1 : an interlacing of the parts of one or more flexible bodies (as threads or sutures) in a lump to prevent their spontaneous separation — see surgeon's knot
2 : a usually firm or hard lump, swelling, or protuberance (as in a muscle or on the surface of a bone) or process a knot in a gland a bone with two or three knots

Other Words from knot

knot verb knotted; knotting

More from Merriam-Webster on knot

Nglish: Translation of knot for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of knot for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about knot


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!