knot

Definitions

General English

General Science

  • noun a structure formed when several strands are joined together or a single strand is looped on itself
  • noun a dark area in a piece of wood where a branch formerly grew

Aviation

  • noun a unit of speed equal to one nautical mile per hour, approximately 1.85 kilometres or 1.15 statute miles per hour.

Construction

  • The hard, cross-grained portion of a tree where a branch meets the trunk.
  • An architectural ornament of clusters of leaves or flowers at the base of intersecting vaulting ribs.
  • Intentional or accidental compact intersection(s) of rope(s) or similar material.

Electronics

  • A unit of velocity equal to 1.852 km/hr, or about 0.51444 m/s. Its abbreviation is kn, or kt.

Military

  • noun a unit of speed for a ship or aircraft, corresponding to one nautical mile per hour

Travel

  • noun a unit of measurement of speed of ships, aircraft, water currents or wind, equivalent to 1.85km per hour

Origin & History of “knot”

The word knot goes back ultimately to a prehistoric Germanic *knūdn-, whose underlying meaning was ‘round lump’. This only emerged in the English word (in such senses as ‘point from which a branch has grown’) in the middle English period, but it can be seen in knoll (OE), which is a derivative of the same base (the related German knolle means ‘lump’). Knob (14th c.) may be related too, although this has never been conclusively demonstrated. The Germanic form diversified into English and Dutch knot, German knoten, Swedish knut, and Danish knode (whose Old Norse ancestor knútr was borrowed into Russian as knut ‘whip’, acquired by English as knout (18th c.)). Knit (OE), which originally meant ‘tie in knots’, was derived in prehistoric west Germanic from knot.
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