A Dictionary of the English Language
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Knot (noun)

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Knot. n.s. [cnoꞇꞇa, Saxon; knot, German; knutte, Dutch; knotte, Erse.]

  1. A complication of a cord or string not easily to be disentangled.

    He found that reason's self now reasons found
    To fasten knots, which fancy first had bound.

    As the fair vestal to the fountain came,
    Let none be startled at a vestal's name,
    Tir'd with the walk, she laid her down to rest;
    And to the winds expos'd her glowing breast,
    To take the freshness of the morning air,
    And gather'd in a knot her flowing hair.

  2. Any figure of which the lines frequently intersect each other.

    Garden knots, the frets of houses, and all equal figures, please; whereas unequal figures are but deformities. Bacon

    Our sea-wall'd garden, the whole land,
    Is full of weeds, her fairest flowers choked up,
    Her knots disorder'd.
    Shakesp. Rich. II.

    It fed flow'rs worthy of paradise, which not nice art
    In beds and curious knots, but nature boon,
    Pour'd forth profuse on hill and dale, and plain.

    Their quarters are contrived into elegant knots, adorned with the most beautiful flowers. More.

    Henry in knots involving Emma's name,
    Had half-express'd, and half-conceal'd his flame
    Upon this tree; and as the tender mark
    Grew with the year, and widen'd with the bark,
    Venus had heard the virgin's soft address,
    That, as the wound, the passion might increase.

  3. Any bond of association or union.

                        Confirm that amity
    With nuptial knot, if thou vouchsafe to grant
    That virtuous lady Bona.
    Shakesp. Henry VI.

                            Richmond aims
    At young Elizabeth, my brother's daughter,
    And by that knot looks proudly on the crown.

    I would he had continued to his country
    As he began, and not unknit himself
    The noble knot he made.
    Shakespeare's Coriolanus.

                Why left you wife and children,
    Those precious motives, those strong knots of love.

    Not all that Saul could threaten or persuade,
    In this close knot, the smallest looseness made.

  4. A hard part in a piece of wood caused by the protuberance of a bough, and consequently by a transverse direction of the fibres. A joint in an herb.

    Taking the very refuse among those which served to no use, being a crooked piece of wood, and full of knots, he hath carved it diligently, when he had nothing else to do. Wisd.

    Such knots and crossness of grain is objected here, as will hardly suffer that form, which they cry up here as the only just reformation, to go on so smoothly here as it might do in Scotland. King Charles.

  5. A confederacy; an association; a small band.

    Oh you panderly rascals! there's a knot, a gang, a conspiracy against me. Shakes. Merry Wives of Windsor

    What is there here in Rome that can delight thee?
    Where not a soul, without thine own foul knot,
    But fears and hates thee.
    Ben. Johnson's Catiline.

    A knot of good fellows borrowed a sum of money of a gentleman upon the king's highway. L'Estrange.

    I am now with a knot of his admirers, who make request that you would give notice of the window where the knight intends to appear. Addison's Spectator.

  6. Difficulty; intricacy.

    A man shall be perplexed with knots and problems of business, and contrary affairs, where the determination is dubious, and both parts of the contrariety seem equally weighty; so that, which way soever the choice determines, a man is sure to venture a great concern. South's Sermons.

  7. Any intrigue, or difficult perplexity of affairs.

    When the discovery was made that the king was living, which was the knot of the play untied, the rest is shut up in the compass of some few lines, because nothing then hindered the happiness of Torismond and Leonora. Dryden's Dufresn.

  8. A cluster; a collection.

    The way of fortune is like the milky way in the sky, which is a meeting or knot of a number of small stars, not seen asunder, but giving light together. Bacon's Essays.

    In a picture, besides the principal figures which compose it, and are placed in the midst of it, there are less groups or knots of figures disposed at proper distances, which are parts of the piece, and seem to carry on the same design in a more inferior manner. Dryden's Dufresnoy.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Charles I (27) · Shakespeare's Coriolanus (80) · Cowley, Abraham (19) · Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 3 (39) · Jonson, Ben (70) · L'Estrange, Roger (131) · Shakespeare's Macbeth (136) · Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor (95) · Milton, John (449) · More, Henry (28) · Prior, Matthew (162) · Shakespeare's Richard II (40) · Shakespeare's Richard III (63) · Sidney, Philip (140) · South, Robert (158) · The Bible - Wisdom (12)

Attributes: Dutch (90) · German (30) · Irish (Erse) (11) · Noun Substantive (1269) · Saxon (215)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Knot (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: February 22, 2014. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/knot-noun/.

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