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When rope or string is twisted or tied, it sometimes forms a knot. This picture shows what a knot looks like:


Some knots are useful or necessary:

  • Sailors use knots when tying ropes on ships or sailboats.
  • Campers use knots when securing tents and tarps.
  • A good, solid knot will keep your shoes tied.

However, some knots are not intended and they can cause problems:

  • Bob's Christmas lights are all knotted together in a box. It will take a long time to untangle them. (untangle = remove the knots.)
  • Cindy's unbrushed hair is all in knots.
  • I can't get this knot undone. I'll have to cut the string.

It's also possible to use the word "knot" for things other than ropes and string:

  • Traffic is in a knot this afternoon due to the construction of a new interchange on highway 94. (Traffic is a mess.)
  • Ralph says his stomach feels like it's all in knots because he has a big test this morning. (Nervousness can sometimes result in physical discomfort, especially in the stomach.)
  • Jose and Glenda have decided to tie the knot. (tie the knot = get married.)


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This page was first published on September 26, 2012. It was updated on April 13, 2015.







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