Knob vs nob

Photo of author


Knob and nob are commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way when spoken aloud but are spelled differently and mean different things, which makes them homophones. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words knob and nob, the word origin of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

A knob is a handle on a door, drawer, or other item or a switch that turns on or controls a device such as a radio or television. A knob may be a small, rounded protuberance on any item. Knob may also mean a small hill. The word knob is derived from the old Scandinavian or German word, knobe.

Nob is primarily a British English word that means the head of something, someone who belongs to the aristocratic class, one’s superior. Nob is generally considered an insult. The word nob came about in the 1700s and is presumed to be an abbreviation of the word nobleman.


After 38 years in operation, the Brass Knob, one of the last architectural-antiques stores in the region, is closing. (The Washington Post)

Not only was there hot water but there are foot pedals under the sink to control the water so you don’t even have to turn the knob with your hand. (The Albany Times Union)

“If you’re trying to make your old home look new, doorknobs are one way to do it, and it’s not nearly as costly as painting everything,” says Barbara Schmidt, principal and creative director at studiobystyle. (New York Magazine)

Labour Councillor: Any working class person who votes Tory is a “nob” (Conservative Home)

May says the whole thing will “require thought” and clearly states that, although he thinks Clarkson is a “nob,” he “quite likes working” with the 54-year-old. (Business Insider)