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From Middle English knitten, from Old English cnyttan (to fasten, tie, bind, knit; add, append), from Proto-Germanic *knutjaną, *knuttijaną (to make knots, knit). Cognate with Old Norse knýta (Danish knytte) and Northern German knütten. More at knot.



knit (third-person singular simple present knits, present participle knitting, simple past and past participle knit or knitted)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To turn thread or yarn into a piece of fabric by forming loops that are pulled through each other. This can be done by hand with needles or by machine.
    to knit a stocking
    The first generation knitted to order; the second still knits for its own use; the next leaves knitting to industrial manufacturers.
  2. (figuratively, transitive) To join closely and firmly together.
    The fight for survival knitted the men closely together.
    • Wiseman
      Nature cannot knit the bones while the parts are under a discharge.
    • Shakespeare
      Thy merit hath my duty strongly knit.
    • Milton
      Come, knit hands, and beat the ground, / In a light fantastic round.
    • Tennyson
      A link among the days, to knit / The generations each to each.
  3. (intransitive) To become closely and firmly joined; become compacted.
  4. (intransitive) To grow together.
    All those seedlings knitted into a kaleidoscopic border.
  5. (transitive) To combine from various elements.
    The witness knitted together his testimony from contradictory pieces of hearsay.
  6. (intransitive) Of bones: to heal following a fracture.
    I’ll go skiing again after my bones knit.
  7. (transitive) To form into a knot, or into knots; to tie together, as cord; to fasten by tying.
    • Bible, Acts x. 11
      a great sheet knit at the four corners
    • William Shakespeare
      When your head did but ache, / I knit my handkercher about your brows.
  8. (transitive) To draw together; to contract into wrinkles.
    • William Shakespeare
      He knits his brow and shows an angry eye.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

See also[edit]


knit (plural knits)

  1. A knitted garment.
    • 2012, Melanie Calvert, Freycinet (page 105)
      There are grey Grecian tops and a light, sheer, silver cardigan. Stylish dark grey tailored trousers, silver thongs and shiny jet-black stilettos. Black sheer blouses with squared bib fronts, and expensive-looking black and dark grey woollen knits.