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Middle English kneden, from Old English cnedan, from Proto-Germanic *knedaną, from Proto-Indo-European *gnet- ‘to press together’ (compare Old Prussian gnode ‘kneading trough’, Albanian ngjesh, Slovenian gnésti ‘to knead, press’), from *gen- ‘to ball up, pinch, compress’. Compare Dutch kneden, German kneten, Icelandic hnoða, Swedish knåda.



knead (third-person singular simple present kneads, present participle kneading, simple past and past participle kneaded)

  1. (transitive) To work and press into a mass, usually with the hands; especially, to work, as by repeated pressure with the knuckles, into a well mixed mass, the materials of bread, cake, etc.
    • 2001, Özcan Ozan, Carl Tremblay, The Sultan's Kitchen: A Turkish Cookbook
      Knead the dough by pressing down on it with the heels of both your palms and pushing it forward to stretch it, then pulling it back toward you...
  2. (transitive, figuratively) To treat or form as if by kneading; to beat.
    • Shakespeare
      I will knead him: I'll make him supple.
  3. (intransitive, of cats) To make an alternating pressing motion with the two front paws.
    • 1991, Grace McHattie, That's cats!: a compendium of feline facts
      Cats knead with their paws when happy, just as they kneaded when feeding from their mothers as kittens.
  4. (transitive) To mix thoroughly; form into a homogeneous compound.



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