Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A knob, knot, or other small protuberance.
  • n. One of a series of small ridges or grooves on the surface or edge of a metal object, such as a thumbscrew, to aid in gripping.
  • transitive v. To provide with knurls; mill.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A contorted knot in wood.
  • n. A crossgrained protuberance; a nodule; a boss or projection.
  • n. A lined or crossgrained pattern of ridges or indentations rolled or pressed into a part for grip.
  • v. To roll or press a pattern of ridges or indentations into a part for grip.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A contorted knot in wood; a crossgrained protuberance; a nodule; a boss or projection.
  • n. One who, or that which, is crossgrained.
  • transitive v. To provide with ridges, to assist the grasp, as in the edge of a flat knob, or coin; to mill.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A knot; a hard substance; a nodule of stone; a protuberance in the bark of a tree.
  • n. A deformed dwarf; a humpback.
  • n. In photography, a milled-edge roller used for dotting and softening outrunning lines and making dark spaces lighter.

Etymologies

Probably diminutive of knur.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
knur +‎ -le (“diminutive”), from Middle English knar ("knot in wood"), earlier sense “a stone”, of Unknown origin. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It's that scanner that peeks under your clothing, creating a ghostly but realistic image of your naked body, accurate down to every curve, knurl, protuberance, carbuncle, wen, bleb, wart and wattle and garfunkel.

    Airport frisk assessment: Gene gets rubbed the wrong way

  • Think a rough-hewn, Teutonic White Goddess, about a Romantic masterpiece rather than a Welsh riddle-poem, and you'll have the flavor of this weird knurl of taffy.

    Kenneth Hite's Journal

  • He wore a black coat and waistcoat, old-fashioned in style, with the folds of a tartan plaid draped over his shoulder, caught up with a brooch whose golden gleam was echoed by the ornamental knurl atop the dirk the old man held, his fingers bent and gnarled with arthritis.

    A Breath of Snow and Ashes

  • He hunched forward, wrenching his arms higher and higher up his back until his shoulders felt as if they were about to dislocate, until at last he was holding the little round knurl of the bolt between the thumb and forefinger of his right hand.

    Fear Itself

  • Instead, I touched the hilt of the dirk; it was topped with a small knurl of gold, roughly shaped like a bird in flight.

    Drums of Autumn

  • "Thou wilt do that with a Mauser sometime which has no knurl on the bolt and it will fire."

    For Whom The Bell Tolls

  • He winks out of the corner of his eye at me and says, 'Your old daddy is tough isn't he?' and shows me the end of his thumb calloused and hard as the knurl of white oak; only fire could clean it to the original skin.

    Confessions of Boyhood

  • I have changed the feature properties for the split to my newly created knurled 'colour', then repeated this for the same knurl in the other colour and then added suppression columns to the table to switch between each colour style depending on the colour of the main part.

    All Discussion Groups: Message List - root

  • In addition, a knurl ensures a firm seat in the drill-hole.

    Electronicstalk - electronics industry news

  • Immediate differences from the front include a new knurl on the Canon T2i's Mode dial, even more rubber grip area, slight nudges of the IR remote window and Self-timer lamp, and the combining of the nameplates into one, rather than two separate badges on the right side.

    Imaging Resource News Page

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Comments

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  • 1. A knob, knot, or other small protuberance.
    2. One of a series of small ridges or grooves on the surface or edge of a metal object, such as a thumbscrew, to aid in gripping.

    November 22, 2007

  • Sunday slipping astern in the spyboat, me diddling the knurls of the focal knobs, in a grump.
    John Latta, Isola di Rifiuti

    January 9, 2007