\ 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 The researchers wrote that this might be because rats on the island know to be afraid of rat snakes around turtle nests. Sara Tabin, Forbes, "More Predators Might Be Better For Turtle Eggs, Study Suggests," 5 Mar. 2021 Ridley doesn't know if her personal experience on Star Wars taught her how to navigate the industry moving forward. Nick Romano,, "Navigating Skywalk-ing and Chaos Walking, Daisy Ridley sets her post-Star Wars future," 4 Mar. 2021 The staff members at these homes often don’t know how to care for this kind of patient. Don Martin, The Conversation, "Even before COVID-19, US nursing homes were filling empty beds with psychiatric patients," 4 Mar. 2021 Because most public school staff have been searching for their own appointments, school leaders don’t know what percentage of staff are already vaccinated. Liz Bowie,, "What to know about President Biden’s plan to prioritize vaccinations for Maryland educators," 4 Mar. 2021 Investigators don’t know when the deadly shooting happened, but Clemons said neighbors told police the vehicle had been idling there for several hours. Carol Robinson |, al, "27-year-old found shot to death inside running vehicle at Bessemer apartment building," 4 Mar. 2021 As all Eric Church fans know, The Chief can play a heck of a live show. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Eric Church Played Some of His First Gigs at a Blowing Rock, North Carolina, Barbecue Joint," 3 Mar. 2021 But many people don’t know about that practice—or him—anymore. Max G. Levy, Wired, "If You Transplant a Human Head, Does Its Consciousness Follow?," 3 Mar. 2021 Even the meticulous Rueck, who seemingly knows every stat and quirk, didn’t know that. oregonlive, "Oregon State survives California, now faces Oregon in the season’s rubber match with added stakes of a Pac-12 tournament," 3 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Today, the site is a rabbit warren of layered conversations and a treasury of practical know-how. Joanna Steinhardt, Wired, "Hackers, Mason Jars, and the Psychedelic Science of DIY Shrooms," 12 Feb. 2021 The Chinese, of course, took the other side of the bet — gaining know-how by starting with simpler products, which then led to the making of more sophisticated ones. New York Times, "The Biden Team Wants to Transform the Economy. Really.," 11 Feb. 2021 Investigators have alleged that Chen is part of the Communist government’s efforts to steal US technology and know-how. Globe Staff,, "MIT professor asks court to sanction US Attorney Lelling over handling of investigation into China ties," 5 Feb. 2021 Ankney's expertise and campaign know-how suggests Haley has bigger plans for her PAC over the next two years than simply cutting checks to endorsed candidates. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "Nikki Haley expands political operation with hiring of experienced operative," 3 Feb. 2021 By allowing the steel industry to continue to produce its full product range and remain profitable in the face of the Chinese supply glut, the tariffs may have arrested Pisano and Shih’s know-how cascade and safeguarded long-term viability. Nicholas Phillips, National Review, "End the Tariff Taboo," 25 Jan. 2021 While this is a global revolution, here we’ve compiled a few exceptional drinks from talented bartenders in the West who’ve applied their mixological know-how to drinks that satisfy and delight, albeit without the booze. Sunset Magazine, "Alcohol-Free Cocktails from the Best Bartenders in the West," 21 Jan. 2021 His strengths include market analysis, high-touch service and construction know-how. Dallas News, "Firm welcomes top producer Raul Ruiz," 17 Jan. 2021 All those apps are free (for non-commercial use), and are easy to navigate around no matter what your level of networking know-how. David Nield, Popular Science, "How to keep people from stealing your Wi-Fi," 7 Jan. 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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Statistics for know

Last Updated

8 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Know.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on know

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for know

Nglish: Translation of know for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of know for Arabic Speakers

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