Origin of ken
Middle English kennen, from Old English cennan to make known & Old Norse kenna to perceive; both akin to Old English can know — more at can
First Known Use: 13th century
Did You Know?
Ken appeared on the English horizon in the 16th century as a term of measurement of the distance bounding the range of ordinary vision at sea - about 20 miles. British author John Lyly used that sense in 1580 when he wrote, "They are safely come within a ken of Dover." Other 16th-century writers used "ken" to mean "range of vision" ("Out of ken we were ere the Countesse came from the feast." - Thomas Nashe) or "sight" ("'Tis double death to drown in ken of shore." - Shakespeare). Today, however, "ken" rarely suggests literal sight. Rather, "ken" nowadays almost always implies a range of comprehension, understanding, or knowledge.
First Known Use of ken
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