Etymology
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knoll (n.)
Old English cnoll "hilltop, small hill, clod, ball," related to Old Norse knollr "hilltop;" German knolle "clod, lump;" Dutch knol "turnip," nol "a hill."
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gnarled (adj.)

c. 1600, probably a variant of knurled, from Middle English knar "knob, knot in wood, protruding mass on a tree" (late 14c.), earlier "a crag, rugged rock or stone" (early 13c.), from a general group of Germanic words that includes English knob, knock, knuckle, knoll, knurl. Gnarl (v.) "make knotty," gnarl (n.) "a knotty growth on wood," and gnarly (adj.) all seem to owe their existence in modern English to Shakespeare's use of gnarled in 1603:

[T]hy sharpe and sulpherous bolt Splits the vn-wedgable and gnarled Oke. ["Measure for Measure," II.ii.116]

"(Gnarled) occurs in one passage of Shakes. (for which the sole authority is the folio of 1623), whence it came into general use in the nineteenth century" [OED].

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hummock (n.)
"knoll, hillock," 1550s, originally nautical, "conical small hill on a seacoast," of obscure origin, though second element probably is the diminutive suffix -ock. In Florida, where the local form is hammock, it means a clump of hardwood trees on a knoll in a swamp or on a key. Related: Hummocky.
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butte (n.)
"conspicuous elevation," especially a steep-sided one notable in its isolation, 1805, American English, from French butte, from Old French but "mound, knoll; target to shoot at" (see butt (n.3)). A relic of the French exploration of the upper Missouri region, introduced in English in Lewis & Clark's journals.
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knob (n.)
late 14c., knobe, probably from a Scandinavian or German source (compare Middle Low German knobbe "knob," Middle Dutch cnoppe, Dutch knop, Old Frisian knopp, knapp, Old High German knopf, German Knopf "button," Old Norse knyfill "short horn"). Meaning "knoll, isolated round hill" is first recorded 1640s, especially in U.S. For pronunciation, see kn-.
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