knot

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get (one's) knickers in a knot

To become overly upset or emotional over something, especially that which is trivial or unimportant. Primarily heard in UK. Ah, don't get your knickers in a knot, I'll have the car back by tomorrow morning! In my opinion, people are getting their knickers in a knot over this election.
See also: get, knickers, knot

get (one's) panties in a knot

To become overly upset or emotional over something, especially that which is trivial or unimportant. Primarily heard in US, South Africa. Ah, don't get your panties in a knot, I'll have the car back by tomorrow morning! In my opinion, people are getting their panties in a knot over this election.
See also: get, knot, panties

get (one's) shorts in a knot

To become overly upset or emotional over something, especially that which is trivial or unimportant. Primarily heard in US, South Africa. Ah, don't get your shorts in a knot, I'll have the car back by tomorrow morning! In my opinion, people are getting their shorts in a knot over this election.
See also: get, knot, short

tie (oneself) in(to) knots

1. To make oneself confused, anxious, worried, and/or upset, as when trying to make a decision, come up with an idea, or resolve an issue. Now don't go tying yourself into knots over the details of your papers—at this point, all you need is a cohesive outline. We've tied ourselves in knots this past week trying to choose who to hire, but I think we've reached a decision.
2. To befuddle oneself while attempting to explain something (to someone). Primarily heard in UK. Jim's a smart guy, but for some reason, he always ties himself into knots whenever I ask him to explain something on the computer for me.
See also: knot, tie

tie (someone) in(to) knots

To make someone confused, anxious, worried, and/or upset. I've been planning on proposing to James on Sunday, but the nervousness is tying me into knots! It's something about the austere way the boss talks that always ties you into knots.
See also: knot, tie

be tied (up) in knots

To be confused, anxious, worried, and/or upset (about something). I've been tied up in knots trying to come up with a good topic for my term paper, but I just can't think of anything! James is tied in knots over how to break up with Daniel, but I think he just needs to bite the bullet and just do it.
See also: knot, tie

cut the Gordian knot

To solve a very challenging or daunting problem decisively. The phrase likely alludes to Gordius, the king of Phrygia, who tied a knot that an oracle proclaimed would only be cut by the future ruler of Asia. Alexander the Great allegedly cut the Gordian knot in one blow. A: "Wait, Matt already solved that impossible equation?" B: "Yes! I have no idea how he did it, but he sure cut the Gordian knot."
See also: cut, Gordian, knot

Gordian knot

A complicated problem that can only be solved with creative or unorthodox thinking. In Greek and Roman mythology, King Gordian tied such a complex knot that only Alexander the Great was able to loosen it by cutting it with his sword. Trying to remove the gum from my daughter's hair turned into quite the Gordian knot. Ultimately, it was just easier to cut the tangled mess out of her hair. The coding problem looked like a Gordian knot until we realized we could bypass it altogether with a different approach.
See also: Gordian, knot

seek a knot in a bulrush

To engage in a futile task; to try to find problems where none exist. A bulrush is a grassy plant that is not prone to knots. You'd have better luck seeking a knot in a bulrush than getting those flowers to grow on such rocky soil. I read the report so many times that the boss will be seeking a knot in a bulrush to try to find errors in it.
See also: knot, seek

at a rate of knots

Rapidly. (A boat's speed is measured in knots.) Primarily heard in UK, Australia. We're going to have to move at a rate of knots to have any hope of getting there on time.
See also: knot, of, rate

tie (oneself) (up) in knots

1. To make oneself confused, anxious, worried, and/or upset, as when trying to make a decision, come up with an idea, or resolve an issue. Now don't go tying yourself in knots over the details of your papers — at this point, all you need is a cohesive outline. We've tied ourselves in up knots this past week trying to decide on who to hire, but I think we've reached a decision.
2. To become flustered while attempting to explain something (to someone). Jim's a smart guy, but for some reason he always ties himself up in knots whenever I ask him to explain something on the computer for me.
See also: knot, tie

tie (one) (up) in knots

To make one confused, anxious, worried, and/or upset. I've been planning to propose to James on Sunday, but the nervousness is tying me in knots! It's something about the austere, imposing way the boss speaks that always ties everyone up in knots.
See also: knot, tie

get knotted

Get out of here; go away; get lost. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Listen, I don't want to buy any, so why don't you just get knotted and leave me alone!
See also: get, knot

knot something together

to tie something together in a knot. Knot these strings together and trim the strings off the knot. Are the ropes knotted together properly? Quickly knot together the two loose ends!
See also: knot, together

tie someone (up) in knots

Fig. to become anxious or upset. John tied himself in knots worrying about his wife during her operation. This waiting and worrying really ties me up in knots.
See also: knot, tie

tie something in a knot

to bend something, such as a rope, upon itself to make a knot. I ended up tying the rope in a knot. The rope was tied in a knot and no one could get it undone.
See also: knot, tie

tie the knot

 
1. Fig. to marry a mate. We tied the knot in a little chapel on the Arkansas border. They finally tied the knot.
2. Fig. [for a cleric or other authorized person] to unite a couple in marriage. It was hard to find somebody to tie the knot at that hour. It only took a few minutes for the ship's captain to tie the knot.
See also: knot, tie

tie into knots

Confuse, upset, or bewilder, as in He tied himself into knots when he tried to explain how the engine works. This metaphoric idiom transfers a knotted tangle to mental confusion. [Late 1800s]
See also: knot, tie

tie the knot

Get married; also, perform a marriage ceremony. For example, So when are you two going to tie the knot? or They asked their friend, who is a judge, to tie the knot. [Early 1700s]
See also: knot, tie

cut the Gordian knot

LITERARY
If someone cuts the Gordian knot, they deal with a difficult situation in a quick, forceful and effective way. Mr Sandler cut the Gordian knot that was strangling the market. Note: Verbs such as break, untie and untangle are sometimes used instead of cut. Which country should make the first move to untie the Gordian knot? Note: Gordian knot is used to describe a problem that is very difficult to solve. The federal deficit has become the Gordian knot of Washington. He found himself tied up in a real emotional Gordian Knot. Note: According to an ancient legend, Gordius, the king of Phrygia, tied a knot that nobody could untie. It was said that if anyone untied it, they would become the next ruler of Asia. When Alexander the Great heard this, he solved the problem by cutting through the knot with a sword.
See also: cut, Gordian, knot

tie the knot

INFORMAL
COMMON If two people tie the knot, they get married. The couple tied the knot last year after a 13-year romance. Len tied the knot with Kate five years ago. Note: Tying knots in items of clothing or ribbons worn by the bride and groom is a traditional feature of many wedding ceremonies, symbolizing their unity.
See also: knot, tie

tie someone in knots

or

tie someone up in knots

If someone ties you in knots or ties you up in knots in a discussion or argument, they confuse you by using clever arguments, so that you cannot argue or think clearly any longer. He could tie her in knots in an argument and never once missed an opportunity to prove his intellectual superiority. He had easily tied her up in knots, cleverly casting serious doubt on her mental faculties.
See also: knot, tie

tie yourself in knots

or

tie yourself up in knots

If you tie yourself in knots or tie yourself up in knots, you make yourself confused or anxious, so you are not able to think clearly. The New York Times editorial page tied itself in knots trying to find the correct tone with which to treat the matter. Catherine is tying herself up in knots with worry because nine-year-old Alice has school phobia.
See also: knot, tie

at a rate of knots

BRITISH
If someone does something at a rate of knots, they do it very quickly. The band worked at a rate of knots on the LP, often flying back to Dublin after a European show, working all night on the album. By 1935, Blyton was publishing at a rate of knots — adventures, fairy tales, mysteries. Note: The speed of ships is measured in knots. A knot is one nautical mile per hour, equivalent to 1.15 land miles per hour.
See also: knot, of, rate

cut the Gordian knot

solve or remove a problem in a direct or forceful way, rejecting gentler or more indirect methods.
The knot referred to is that with which Gordius, king of ancient Phrygia (in Asia Minor), fastened the yoke of his wagon to the pole. Its complexity was such that it gave rise to the legend that whoever could undo it would become the ruler of Asia. When Alexander the Great passed that way en route to conquer the East he is said simply to have severed the knot with his sword.
See also: cut, Gordian, knot

at a rate of knots

very fast. British informal
A knot here is a nautical unit of speed, equal to one nautical mile per hour.
See also: knot, of, rate

tie the knot

get married. informal
See also: knot, tie

tie someone (up) in knots

make someone completely confused. informal
1996 Daily Star It looks like an open and shut case until the brilliant QC starts getting the prosecution witnesses tied up in knots.
See also: knot, tie

get knotted

used to express contemptuous rejection of someone. British informal
See also: get, knot

cut/untie the ˌGordian ˈknot

solve a very difficult or complicated problem with forceful action: Will the negotiators be able to untie the Gordian knot?This expression comes from the legend in which King Gordius tied a very complicated knot and said that whoever untied it would become the ruler of Asia. Alexander the Great cut through the knot with his sword.
See also: cut, Gordian, knot

at a rate of ˈknots

(British English, informal) very fast: You must have been going at a rate of knots to have finished so soon. OPPOSITE: at a snail’s pace
The speed of a boat or ship is measured in knots.
See also: knot, of, rate

tie somebody/yourself (up) in ˈknots

become or make somebody very confused: The interviewer tied the Prime Minister up in knots. He looked a complete fool.He tied himself up in knots when he tried to explain why he had lipstick on his face.
See also: knot, somebody, tie

tie the ˈknot

(informal) get married: When did you two decide to tie the knot?
See also: knot, tie

knot up

v.
1. To tangle or tie something in a knot or knots: The wind knotted my hair up. Don't let the kittens knot up the yarn.
2. To become tangled or tied in a knot or knots: My shoelaces knotted up. If you don't comb your hair, it will knot up.
3. To make something or someone painfully tense, as from illness or grief: Something I ate has knotted up my stomach. The sad scene at the end of the movie knotted me up. I get all knotted up when I think of the terrible accident.
4. To equal an opponent's score in some contest: The home team knotted up the game. The hockey player knotted it up with a last-minute goal. The game was knotted up at 2-2.
See also: knot, up

balloon knot

n. the anus (From its appearance.) Yeeeouch! Right in the balloon knot!
See also: balloon, knot

tie the knot

1. tv. to marry a mate. We tied the knot in a little chapel on the Arkansas border.
2. tv. [for a cleric] to unite a couple in marriage. It was hard to find somebody to tie the knot at that hour.
See also: knot, tie

tie the knot

Slang
1. To get married.
2. To perform a marriage ceremony.
See also: knot, tie

Gordian knot

A difficult problem that can be solved by an unexpected and simple method. According to an old Greek legend, a poor peasant named Gordius appeared in the public square of Phrygia in an ox cart. Since an oracle had prophesized that the future king would ride into town in a wagon, Gordius was made ruler. In gratitude, Gordius dedicated his ox cart to Zeus and tied the cart to a pole with a highly intricate knot, whereupon an oracle foretold that whosoever untied the knot would rule all of Asia. Although many tried in vain to untie the knot, it took Alexander the Great to do so, which he did with one cut of his sword. That might not have been the method that Gordius or the oracle had in mind, but it was good enough to enable Alexander to conquer most of Asia as well as a large chunk of the rest of the known world.
See also: Gordian, knot
References in periodicals archive ?
Together with Stu Whittington of the University of Toronto, Sumners demonstrated mathematically in 1988 that if you wait long enough, these random walks will get knotted virtually 100 percent of the time.
After several such steps, the strands had braided, which often meant that the string as a whole was now knotted.
Bacterial genomes are circular, so recombination can produce veritable knotted loops.
When [a polymerase] comes to a knotted area, it will be stuck," Belmonte says.
Knot theorists have long sought practical procedures for distinguishing knotted curves from unknotted ones.
Molecular biologists have used insights from knot theory to understand how DNA strands can be broken and then recombined into knotted forms (SN: 11/16/96, p.
Failure to untangle the loop even after hours of fruitless labor, however, doesn't prove that the loop is truly knotted.
Twisted loops that are not actually knotted also serve as boundaries of disklike surfaces--but here the disks may be extremely convoluted.
A team of scientists in Japan has recently confirmed experimentally that a knotted filament of a cellular protein known as actin also tends to break at bonds neighboring the knot, just as predicted in the computer simulations of simple polymer chains.
Stasiak and his coworkers also demonstrated in their simulations that the average shape of loosely knotted DNA loops flopping around in a good solvent closely resembles the ideal configuration of the given knot.
This monumental, trial-and-error effort resulted in the first tables of knots, organized according to the minimum number of crossings evident in diagrams of the two-dimensional shadows cast by three-dimensional knotted loops.
Molecular biologists are using them to understand how DNA strands can be broken, then recombined into knotted forms.
But it's often hard to tell from a photograph whether a given tangled loop of DNA is actually knotted or whether one knotted loop is really the same as another.
When they went looking for it, they found the predicted knotted loop.
In fact, the mathematical classification of knots started in the late 19th century when British scientist Lord Kelvin hypothesized that atoms were knotted vortices in the ether, an invisible fluid then thought to fill all space.