Knot, nought, naught or not

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Knot, nought, naught and not are words that are pronounced in the same manner but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the definitions of the words knot, nought, naught and not, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A knot is a method of joining pieces of rope or string together by tying. There are hundreds of methods used to tie ropes together in a knot, such as a sheepshank, clove hitch or square knot. Knot may also refer to an unintended tangle in a rope, thread or hair. Knot is used figuratively to mean a bad feeling in the pit of one’s stomach or a complicated problem. Knot may be used as a noun or a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are knots, knotted, knotting. The word knot is derived from the Old English word cnotta, which means entwined cord or rope.

Nought means nothing, and it also means the digit zero. Nought is a British spelling. The preferred American spelling is naught, which also means nothing. However, naught is rarely used to mean the digit zero. The word nought is derived from the Old English word nowiht which means nothing.

Not is an auxiliary verb that makes a verb or statement negative, to express the opposite. The word not was originally a contraction form of the word nought.


“Thou Shalt Knot: Clifford W. Ashley” will premiere a recent gift of Ashley’s private knot collection enhanced by interpretative material from the museum’s permanent collection, as well as the artist’s paintings, prints, and works by other knot tyers and artists. (The Enterprise)

It has a range of at least 215 miles on a single charge, can go from nought to 60 in under six seconds, and boasts a five-star safety rating in all categories. (The Mirror)

Netflix (NFLX, -2.17%) may take security seriously, but if its partners do not, then its efforts may as well be for naught. (Fortune Magazine)

“The legislature did not pass a budget to me, for me to sign, so that we’d have the money to keep it open.”  (Business Insider)