From Middle High German knote, knode, from Old High German knoto, knodo. The two forms are probably variants based on Grammatischer Wechsel. The form with -t- (from Proto-Germanic *-d-) was predominant in East Central German, that with -d- (from Proto-Germanic *-þ-) in Upper German. Incidentally, this situation explains the lengthened vowel in the standardized form (lengthening being blocked before -t- in Upper German, but not in Central German). Neither German form can be derived directly from Proto-Germanic *knuttô, whence Middle High German knotze and English knot, though a relation is very likely.
The sense “journeyman”, “person (of some quality)” is probably due, at least in part, to conflation with Middle Low German genôte (“mate, companion”), cognate of German Genosse. Alongside, there is a common tendency of referring to people, especially children, with words for thick, plump, or inflated objects (compare e.g. Balg).
Knoten m (genitive Knotens, plural Knoten)
- knot (looping)
- knot (swelling)
- (Austria) interchange (motorway junction)
- (nautical) knot (unit of speed)
- (graph theory) vertex, node
- (obsolete, pejorative) craftsman; journeyman; farmhand
- (in compounds) a person of some specified quality or practice; chiefly in Furzknoten, but sometimes other colloquial formations
- Knoten in Duden online