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. (slang, chiefly in the plural) A woman's breast.
  8. (vulgar, slang, chiefly Britain) The 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 termsEdit


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), probably via Old Saxon from a variant of Proto-Germanic *knappô (knob, lump). Compare Dutch knoop and Swedish knop.


  • IPA(key): /knoːb/, [kʰnoːˀb̥]


knob n or c

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

Usage notesEdit

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 readingEdit

Middle EnglishEdit



  1. Alternative form of knobbe