knottiest; knottier; knottily

Whether it’s pine or problems, sometimes the word knotty can apply to both. Knotty can describe something that has a lot of knots, either literally or figuratively.

The adjective knotty is a way to describe something that’s covered in knots. It can be used in a literal sense to refer to wood that is covered in hard, irregular knots — you’ve probably seen these circular, knobby imperfections that sometime appear on wood. The word can also be used figuratively to describe something that is intricate and difficult to solve, such as a knotty political problem involving two warring nations or a knotty legal issue involving complicated constitutional issues.

Definitions of knotty
  1. adjective
    tangled in knots or snarls
    synonyms: snarled, snarly
    in a confused mass
  2. adjective
    used of old persons or old trees; covered with knobs or knots
    synonyms: gnarled, gnarly, knobbed, knotted
    having or marked by bends or angles; not straight or aligned
  3. adjective
    making great mental demands; hard to comprehend or solve or believe
    “I faced the knotty problem of what to have for breakfast”
    synonyms: baffling, elusive, problematic, problematical, tough
    difficult, hard
    not easy; requiring great physical or mental effort to accomplish or comprehend or endure
  4. adjective
    highly complex or intricate and occasionally devious
    “a knotty problem”
    synonyms: Byzantine, convoluted, involved, tangled, tortuous
    complicated in structure; consisting of interconnected parts
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘knotty'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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