tie the knot

tie the knot


  1. an interlacing, twining, looping, etc., of a cord, rope, or the like, drawn tight into a knob or lump, for fastening, binding, or connecting two cords together or a cord to something else.
  2. a piece of ribbon or similar material tied or folded upon itself and used or worn as an ornament.
  3. a group or cluster of persons or things: a knot of spectators.
  4. the hard, cross-grained mass of wood at the place where a branch joins the trunk of a tree.
  5. a part of this mass showing in a piece of lumber, wood panel, etc.
  6. Anatomy, Zoology. a protuberance or swelling on or in a part or process, as in a muscle.
  7. a protuberance in the tissue of a plant; an excrescence on a stem, branch, or root; a node or joint in a stem, especially when of swollen form.
  8. any of various fungal diseases of trees characterized by the formation of an excrescence, knob, or gnarl.
  9. an involved, intricate, or difficult matter; complicated problem.
  10. Nautical.
    1. a unit of speed equal to one nautical mile or about 1.15 statute miles per hour.
    2. a unit of 47 feet 3 inches (13.79 meters) on a log line, marked off by knots.
    3. a nautical mile.
  11. a bond or tie: the knot of matrimony.
  12. Also called joint, node. Mathematics. in interpolation, one of the points at which the values of a function are assigned.

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

  1. to tie in a knot; form a knot in.
  2. to secure or fasten by a knot.
  3. to form protuberances, bosses, or knobs in; make knotty.

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

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


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


  1. 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
  2. a prescribed method of tying a particular knot
  3. a tangle, as in hair or string
  4. a decorative bow or fastening, as of ribbon or braid
  5. a small cluster or huddled group
  6. a tie or bondthe marriage knot
  7. a difficult problem
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. at a rate of knots very fast
  13. tie someone in knots to completely perplex or confuse someone
  14. tie the knot informal to get married

verb knots, knotting or knotted

  1. (tr) to tie or fasten in a knot
  2. to form or cause to form into a knot
  3. (tr) to ravel or entangle or become ravelled or entangled
  4. (tr) to make (an article or a design) by tying thread in an interlaced pattern of ornamental knots, as in macramé


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

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

  1. A compact intersection of interlaced material, as of cord, ribbon, or rope.
  2. A protuberant growth or swelling in a tissue, such as a gland.

Get married; also, perform a marriage ceremony. For example, So when are you two going to tie the knot? or They asked their friend, who is a judge, to tie the knot. [Early 1700s] see tie into knots; tie the knot.

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