Definitions

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

  • n. A difficult situation or problem; a complication.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • A knot.
  • In music, an enigmatical canon.

Etymologies

Latin nōdus, knot; see ned- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • When the dignus vindice nodus is resurrected in the 1790s in relation to the use of the supernatural, Horace's words should be translated to mean "you should not use this device unless you have a legitimate reason."

    Haunted Britain in the 1970s

  • Even her hairstyle was on message: a meticulously combed arrangement known as the nodus literally, “knot”, in reference to the distinctive roll of hair swept up harshly above the forehead.

    Caesars’ Wives

  • So wisely I shut my letter, (after unwisely having driven everything to the last moment!) -- and now I have silk to tie fast with ... to tie a 'nodus' ... 'dignus' of the celestial interposition -- and a new packet shall be ready to go to you directly.

    The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, Vol. 1 (of 2) 1845-1846

  • The former is steady and unshaken, where the 'nodus' is 'dignus vindice'; the latter is oftener improperly than properly exerted, but always brutally.

    Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, 1749

  • So wisely I shut my letter, (after unwisely having driven everything to the last moment!) ” and now I have silk to tie fast with ... to tie a 'nodus' ... 'dignus' of the celestial interposition ” and a new packet shall be ready to go to you directly.

    The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett

  • Portraits of Julia as she came of age showed her with her hair twisted into the same stiff, controlled nodus favored by her stepmother and aunt, under whose aegis she was now being brought up.22

    Caesars’ Wives

  • Gone was the prim nodus; instead her long hair was parted in the center and allowed to fall loose under a veil, in a deliberate echo of the statuary poses of classical goddesses.

    Caesars’ Wives

  • In spite of the fact that she was over seventy when Tiberius became emperor, in dedicated artwork she got progressively younger.22 Slowly but surely the round-faced visage of her earlier public portraits underwent a facelift, the severe nodus hairstyle with its bulky pompadour gradually replaced with a softer, more graceful center part, her wrinkles filled in, her skin made smoother, her expression calmer and more serene.

    Caesars’ Wives

  • Augustus himself owed much of his rise to his adoption as a seventeen-year-old by his great-uncle Julius Caesar.62 In 13 BC, once Gaius and Lucius had reached the age of seven and four, respectively, the Roman mint issued a coin featuring the emperor on one side, and on the other a tiny fleshy-featured bust of Julia, her hair neatly arranged in the nodus, flanked by the heads of her two infant boys.

    Caesars’ Wives

  • As a child Julia would have had a more simple hairstyle than that worn by this adult alter ego, tied back with woolen bands vittae until it was long enough to be pinned up in the stiff nodus favored by her stepmother and aunt, which would have happened just as she was nearing the age of marriage.

    Caesars’ Wives

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  • Nodus also means a node in pathology and medicine (definition 1, Oxford English Dictionary) and Anatomy (Terminologia Anatomica — International Anatomical Terminology 1998: 195-197).

    June 28, 2011

  • plural: nodi

    November 15, 2007