\ ˈnō How to pronounce know (audio) \
knew\ ˈnü How to pronounce know (audio) also  ˈnyü \; known\ ˈnōn How to pronounce know (audio) \; knowing

Definition of know

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a(1) : to perceive directly : have direct cognition of
(2) : to have understanding of importance of knowing oneself
(3) : to recognize the nature of : discern
b(1) : to recognize as being the same as something previously known
(2) : to be acquainted or familiar with
(3) : to have experience of
2a : to be aware of the truth or factuality of : be convinced or certain of
b : to have a practical understanding of knows how to write
3 archaic : to have sexual intercourse with

intransitive verb

1 : to have knowledge
2 : to be or become cognizant sometimes used interjectionally with you especially as a filler in informal speech
know from
: to have knowledge of didn't know from sibling rivalry— Penny Marshall



Definition of know (Entry 2 of 2)

in the know
: in possession of exclusive knowledge or information broadly : well-informed

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Other Words from know


knower \ ˈnō-​ər How to pronounce know (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for know

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of know in a Sentence

Verb He knows a lot about the history of the town. Do you know the answer? I don't know her name. Do you know what time it is? I don't know the words to that song. They knew a good deal about the problem. She knows the rules of the game. If you want the answer, ask someone who knows. I don't know much about art, but I know what I like. She knows that many people will not believe her.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Serey did not know whether his brother-in-law had been vaccinated. CBS News, 14 Sep. 2021 Of course, an effective leader doesn’t always know more than anyone else or call the shots all alone; often, influential leaders ask colleagues to weigh in on big decisions. Benjamin Laker, Forbes, 14 Sep. 2021 DeVaughn-Jones doesn’t know all the details of what transpired. Carol Robinson |, al, 13 Sep. 2021 Embalmers pour fluids down drains, but Texas water officials didn't know. Laura L. Davis, USA TODAY, 13 Sep. 2021 So many people who maybe didn’t even know a Peacock from a panini will download the app, and that, in turn, will draw eyes to the Housewives, is Branco’s point. Brian Moylan, Vulture, 13 Sep. 2021 Get someone who doesn't know the script to listen through and check the balance between foreground and background sound. Zoe Pickburn, Wired, 13 Sep. 2021 Though DeGeneres didn't know, the Jimmy Kimmel Live! Dory Jackson,, 13 Sep. 2021 Even those who do not know each other join in, arm in arm. Rabbi Avi Weiss,, 13 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But for those not in the know or looking to expand beyond their current bacon grease modus operandi, there are numerous ways to put this liquid gold to good use. Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2021 Those in the know about Listermann beers have been calling for the return of Cranium for two-plus years. Matt Koesters, The Enquirer, 10 Sep. 2021 They’ve been simmering away, under-the-radar, over the past few years – essential addresses for those ‘in the know’. Angelina Villa-clarke, Forbes, 7 Sep. 2021 Unlike the ubiquitous German and Italian models found in every airport, Anglo writing instruments are hard to come by but are prized by stylophiles in the know. Alexander Freeling, Robb Report, 31 Aug. 2021 Vermont's mud season, which occurs just after the ski resorts hang up their poles for the year, slowly gives way to lush summer greenery and wildflowers galore, and those in the know agree the best time of year to visit is fall. Stacey Lastoe, Travel + Leisure, 29 Aug. 2021 In Oakland, those in the know have plenty of options to try the super burrito. Elena Kadvany, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Aug. 2021 For those not in the know, this is an allusion to Deer Woman, a supernatural figure that appears in scary stories told by several tribes. Kali Simmons, Vulture, 10 Aug. 2021 Belgian biotech group Univercells will deliver that technology know-how to Institut Pasteur, a deal formalized after President Macky Sall’s visit to Belgium on April 13. Nosmot Gbadamosi, Time, 19 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'know.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of know


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a(1)


1592, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for know

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Old English cnāwan; akin to Old High German bichnāan to recognize, Latin gnoscere, noscere to come to know, Greek gignōskein

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Time Traveler for know

Time Traveler

The first known use of know was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near know




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Last Updated

16 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Know.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for know



English Language Learners Definition of know

: to have (information of some kind) in your mind
: to understand (something) : to have a clear and complete idea of (something)
: to have learned (something, such as a skill or a language)


\ ˈnō How to pronounce know (audio) \
knew\ ˈnü , ˈnyü \; known\ ˈnōn \; knowing

Kids Definition of know

1 : to recognize the identity of I know that guy!
2 : to be aware of the truth of We know that the earth is round.
3 : to have a practical understanding of Her little sister already knows how to read.
4 : to have information or knowledge He knows all about cars.
5 : to be or become aware The president knew about the problem.
6 : to be acquainted or familiar with A taxi driver knows the city well.
7 : to have understanding of It's important to know yourself. I don't know why this happens.
8 : to recognize the nature of We knew them to be honest.

More from Merriam-Webster on know

Nglish: Translation of know for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of know for Arabic Speakers


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