KN Words: 264 English Words that Contain KN

Until the 17th century, the K sound at the beginning of the word ‘knight’ and the word ‘knot’ were uttered in Old English. However, because the K-N combination is so difficult to pronounce, we progressively removed it for hundreds of years until it was eliminated.

For some reason, English speakers have difficulty pronouncing the KN consonant cluster. Foreign influences may have played a role; England undertook a massive global colonization effort during this period. The article below provides a full list of KN words.

KN Words

What are KN Words?

K is not a “silent letter” in a knot but rather part of the separate phonogram in the word. The KN symbol represents the sound /n/. The “c” in the Old English writing of words like knave evolved to indicate a guttural sound comparable to the sound /k/.

List of KN Words

  • Acknowledge
  • Acknowledgment
  • Airsickness
  • Antiknock
  • Banknote
  • Beknight
  • Beknot
  • Blackness
  • Blankness
  • Bleakness
  • Bowknot
  • Breakneck
  • Briskness
  • Cockney
  • Cockneyfy
  • Cockneyish
  • Cockneyism
  • Cracknel
  • Crookneck
  • Dankness
  • Darkness
  • Doorknob
  • Drawknife
  • Foreknow
  • Foreknowledge
  • Foreknown
  • Frankness
  • Greensickness
  • Hackney
  • Hackneyed
  • Hackneying
  • Hawknose
  • Heartsickness
  • Homesickness
  • Hooknose
  • Hooknosed
  • Interknit
  • Interknitted
  • Interknitting
  • Interknot
  • Jackknife
  • Jackknifing
  • Jackknives
  • Kidnapped
  • Knack
  • Knacked
  • Knacker
  • Knackered
  • Knackeries
  • Knackery
  • Knacking
  • Knackish
  • Knacks
  • Knackwurst
  • Knap
  • Knapbottle
  • Knapped
  • Knapper
  • Knapping
  • Knappish
  • Knaps
  • Knapsack
  • Knapsacked
  • Knapweed
  • Knar
  • Knarred
  • Knarry
  • Knaur
  • Knautia
  • Knave
  • Knaver
  • Knavery
  • Knaves
  • Knaveship
  • Knavish
  • Knavishly
  • Knavishness
  • Knawe
  • Knawel
  • Knead
  • Kneadable
  • Kneaded
  • Kneader
  • Kneading
  • Kneadingly
  • Kneads
  • Knebelite
  • Knee
  • Knee bend
  • Knee brace
  • Knee jerk
  • Knee joint
  • Knee pad
  • Knee pants
  • Knee piece
  • Kneebrush
  • Kneecap
  • Kneed
  • Kneedeep
  • Knee-hi
  • Knee-high
  • Kneehole
  • Kneeing
  • Kneejerk
  • Kneejoint
  • Kneejointed
  • Kneel
  • Kneeled
  • Knee-length
  • Kneeler
  • Kneeling
  • Kneelingly
  • Kneepad
  • Kneepan
  • Kneepiece
  • Kneesock
  • Knell
  • Knelled
  • Knelling
  • Knelt
  • Knesset
  • Knesseth
  • Knew
  • Knickerbocker
  • Knickknack
  • Knife
  • Knife blade
  • Knife edge
  • Knife fight
  • Knife pleat
  • Knife switch
  • Knife thrust
  • Knifeboard
  • Knifed
  • Knife-edge
  • Knife-handle
  • Knifelike
  • Knifepoint
  • Knifer
  • Knifes
  • Knifing
  • Knight
  • Knighted
  • Knighthood
  • Knightia
  • Knighting
  • Knightly
  • Knights
  • Knish
  • Knishes
  • Knit
  • Knittable
  • Knitted
  • Knitter
  • Knitwear
  • Knives
  • Knob
  • Knobbed
  • Knobby
  • Knobkerrie
  • Knoblike
  • Knobs
  • Knock
  • Knockabout
  • Knockdown
  • Knocked
  • Knocker
  • Knocking
  • Knockless
  • Knockoff
  • Knockout
  • Knocks
  • Knockwurst
  • Knoll
  • Knolled
  • Knoller
  • Knolling
  • Knolls
  • Knolly
  • Knop
  • Knopped
  • Knosp
  • Knot
  • Knotgrass
  • Knothole
  • Knotlike
  • Knotty
  • Knotweed
  • Knout
  • Knouted
  • Knouting
  • Know
  • Knowable
  • Knower
  • Knowing
  • Knowinger
  • Knowledge
  • Known
  • Knows
  • Knubbier
  • Knubbiest
  • Knubby
  • Knuckle
  • Knuckleball
  • Knucklebone
  • Knuckled
  • Knucklehead
  • Knuckler
  • Knucklier
  • Knuckling
  • Knuckly
  • Knur
  • Knurl
  • Knurled
  • Knurry
  • Knurs
  • Lankness
  • Locknut
  • Meekness
  • Misknew
  • Misknow
  • Misknown
  • Nicknack
  • Nickname
  • Nicknamer
  • Nicknaming
  • Packness
  • Penknife
  • Pinkness
  • Pocketknife
  • Pyknic
  • Pyknoses
  • Pyknosis
  • Pyknotic
  • Quickness
  • Rankness
  • Reknit
  • Reknitted
  • Reknot
  • Reknotted
  • Sickness
  • Slackness
  • Sleekness
  • Slickness
  • Slipknot
  • Thickness
  • Tightknit
  • Topknot
  • Unacknowledged
  • Unbeknown
  • Unhackneyed
  • Unknit
  • Unknitted
  • Unknitting
  • Unknot
  • Unknotted
  • Unknotting
  • Unknowability
  • Unknowable
  • Unknowing
  • Unknowledgeable
  • Unknown
  • Weakness
  • Weeknight

Conclusion

Overall, even though the pronunciation of these clusters was identical to how they were written in Old English, this has changed over time. It seems to me that this phonetic change started as a mispronunciation, which other people picked up on for whatever reason (it was easier, the person/group that made the error had prestige, etc.), and then it spread from there. This is what I believe happened.

Old English words with a silent “K” used to be spelled “cn,” and the “c” was pronounced back then. For example, “knock” (with today’s silent K) was pronounced “c-nock” in the past. From there most of us prefer the present spellings since they make it clear when we should use “know” and when we should use “now” (and “knot” or “not” and so on).

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