One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A knot of pinewood, especially when burned as fuel for a fire or to provide illumination.
2Used in comparisons or similes, with allusion to the toughness or hardness of a pine knot.
3Figurative. A person or thing considered to be as tough or enduring as a pine knot. Now rare.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in John Winthrop (1588–1649), colonial governor. From pine + knot.
pine knot/ˈpʌɪn nɒt/
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