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From Middle English knobbe, from Middle Low German knobbe (knob; knot in wood). Cognate with Dutch knob, knobbel (knob), German Knubbe, Knubbel (knob). See also knop.



knob (plural knobs)

  1. A rounded protuberance, especially one arising from a flat surface; a fleshy lump or caruncle.
  2. A rounded control switch that can be turned on its axis, designed to be operated by the fingers.
  3. A ball-shaped part of a handle, lever, etc., designed to be grabbed by the hand.
  4. A rounded ornament on the hilt of an edged weapon; a pommel.
  5. A prominent, rounded bump along a mountain ridge.
  6. (geography) A prominent rounded hill.
    • 2011, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Pulphead, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, p. 144:
      We climbed to the top of Slate Hill, the highest knob in our town, and Ricky gave me a whole talk on how slate formed, how it was and was not shale.
  7. (plural) (slang) Breasts.
  8. (vulgar, slang, chiefly Britain) A penis.
  9. (vulgar, slang) The head of the penis; the glans.
  10. (slang, derogatory, by analogy with above) A contemptible person.
  11. (cooking) A dollop, an amount just larger than a spoonful (usually referring to butter).
  12. A chunky branch-like piece, especially of a ginger rhizome.
    • 2001, David Joachim, The Clever Cook's Kitchen Handbook
      Place whole, unpeeled knobs of ginger in a zipper-lock freezer bag for up to 3 months. Slice or break off what you need and return the rest to the freezer.
  13. A bulb of the garlic plant consisting of multiple cloves.


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.


knob (third-person singular simple present knobs, present participle knobbing, simple past and past participle knobbed)

  1. (Britain, slang, vulgar, of a man) To have sex with.




From Middle Low German knōp (knot). Compare Dutch knoop and Swedish knop.


  • IPA(key): /knoːb/, [kʰnoːˀb̥]


knob n, c

  1. knot (speed on water)
  2. knot (looping of a rope)

Usage notes[edit]

In the sense speed on water it is common gender; the plural indefinite form is knob; no definite forms. In the sense looping of a rope it is neuter gender.


Further reading[edit]

Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of knobbe