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Apr 11, 2011
This week's theme
Words originating in knots

This week's words
knotty
denouement
gordian
nodus
knaggy

knots
Illustration: The Ashley Book of Knots, 1944

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

What do a Boy Scout, a sailor, and a naysayer have in common? They know all about knots. OK, so it works better when said aloud. This week we are going to be a little knotty anyway, but that's OK, we are nice the rest of the year.

Knots have been around for a long time, probably since prehistoric humans figured out looping vines to tie kindling. As most of us have moved away from working on farms to working in cubicles, a knowledge of knots is not as essential, but some knots we still have to learn sooner or later.

Enjoy this week's words related to knots. May you have the serenity to endure the knots you can't untie, courage to cut those you must, and wisdom to know the difference. But remember, it's not always either/or in life. Sometimes a knot can be adjusted as well.

knotty

PRONUNCIATION:
(NOT-ee)

MEANING:
adjective: 1. Having knots; gnarled. 2. Intricate; difficult to solve.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Old English cnotta. Earliest documented use: Before 1240.

USAGE:
"The government's collapse presents a new set of knotty difficulties for the EU."
Seven Days; The Irish Times; Mar 26, 2011.

"Mr. Frishberg's pianism, with its knotty chords and staccato phrases, was as spiky and emphatic as his personality."
Stephen Holden; Bernie, Dorothy, and That Interior Voice; The New York Times; Mar 22, 2011.

See more usage examples of knotty in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. -John Muir, naturalist, explorer, and writer (1838-1914)

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