Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Tied or snarled in knots.
  • adj. Covered with knots or knobs; gnarled.
  • adj. Difficult to understand or solve. See Synonyms at complex.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Full of knots.
  • adj. Complicated or tricky; complex; difficult.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Full of knots; knotted; having many knots
  • adj. Hard; rugged.
  • adj. Difficult; intricate; perplexed.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Full of knots; having many knots.
  • Hard; rugged.
  • Difficult; intricate; perplexing; involved.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. used of old persons or old trees; covered with knobs or knots
  • adj. making great mental demands; hard to comprehend or solve or believe
  • adj. tangled in knots or snarls
  • adj. highly complex or intricate and occasionally devious

Etymologies

knot +‎ -y (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • M. de Nointel, after settling certain knotty points in the

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • In the construction of this little word "equipping," taken with its context, is the point, apparently so knotty, which is to be determined.

    The Alexandra

  • A humorist of the present day has suggested that the knots on the staff indicate the numerous "knotty" questions which a doctor is asked to solve!

    Outlines of Greek and Roman Medicine

  • He seemed awful old and kind of knotty and twisty.

    Mitch Miller

  • Nor did I escape, since having somehow or other established a reputation for wisdom, as soon as I had mastered sufficient of the language, every kind of knotty case was laid before me for decision.

    When the World Shook; being an account of the great adventure of Bastin, Bickley and Arbuthnot

  • I tried to do it, but found it a "knotty" subject, and, like the texts Eachard speaks of,

    Salem Witchcraft and Cotton Mather A Reply

  • You describe the abortion issue as a "knotty" question.

    ABP News

  • Its mix includes “born again” or vintage cowboy boots — “half the retail price and half the work to break them in”; ranch home decor, such as knotty pine log beds; “saloon girl” lingerie; exclusive designs, such as tank tops with “Honky” on the front and “Tonk” on the back; Pocahontas and Indian chief prints; and novelty gifts that baby boomers played with as children, such as candy cigarettes and badges.

    The Volokh Conspiracy

  • He said biomass is a relatively cheap energy source because it uses non-commercial wood, such as knotty trees, tree stumps and branches, to fuel power plants.

    CTV News RSS Feed

  • They are still wrestling with how to do it—particularly with the knotty question of how to share the burden with private creditors.

    EU Links Greece Aid to Budget Cuts

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