A unit of speed, equal to one nautical mile per hour. (From the practice of counting the number of knots in the log-line (as it is paid out) in a standard time. Traditionally spaced at one every of a mile.)
From Middle English knotte, from Old English cnotta, from Proto-Germanic *knuttô, *knudô; (cognate with Old High German knoto (German Knoten, Dutch knot, Low German Knütte); compare also Old Norse knútr > Danish knude, Swedish knut, Norwegian knute, Faroese knútur, Icelandic hnútur). Probably ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *gnod- ("to bind"), compare Latin nōdus and its Romance descendants. node.
Supposed to be derived from the name of King Canute, with whom the bird was a favourite article of food. See the specific epithet canutus.
Modern English dictionary
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