\ ˈnō How to pronounce know (audio) \
knew\ ˈnü How to pronounce knew (audio) also  ˈnyü \; known\ ˈnōn How to pronounce known (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 knower (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 Chris, the grandson of the creators of Enchanted Forest in Salem, still doesn’t know all the details. Capi Lynn, oregonlive, "The desperate fight to save his family ends in tragedy," 12 Sep. 2020 Police do not know why the boy ran onto the freeway nor if the driver will face charges. Kaylee Remington, cleveland, "12-year-old boy struck by car on Interstate 90 in Cleveland dies," 12 Sep. 2020 Day to day, the vaccine makers themselves don't know how their candidate is faring. USA Today, "The sprint to create a COVID-19 vaccine started in January. The finish line awaits.," 11 Sep. 2020 Additionally, those who tested positive for COVID-19 but did not know where they had been exposed to the virus were more likely to have gone to a bar or coffee shop., "Adults Who Tested Positive for Coronavirus ‘Twice as Likely’ to Have Dined at a Restaurant," 11 Sep. 2020 Parents of younger children across the country don’t know where or whether or when their kids will see the inside of a classroom again. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "What If Democrats Just Promised to Make Things Work Again?," 11 Sep. 2020 Bryan Putman didn’t know much about Dean Kremer before the Orioles rookie’s dazzling debut Sunday against the New York Yankees. Jon Meoli,, "Orioles rookie Dean Kremer and his Israeli-American heritage already a hit with Baltimore’s Jewish community," 11 Sep. 2020 Scientists do not yet know how much credit, if any, to give to treatment improvements for the decline in daily U.S. deaths. Carla K. Johnson And Nicky Forster, Star Tribune, "Daily US virus deaths decline, but trend may reverse in fall," 11 Sep. 2020 And if McConnell didn't know how serious the coronavirus was then, Stevenson indicated that's no excuse. Morgan Watkins, The Courier-Journal, "Mitch McConnell on Woodward book: 'We all knew' COVID-19 was dangerous in February," 11 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The shochu industry hasn't had the know-how, or quite honestly, the motivation to market overseas. TheWeek, "A beginner's guide to Japan's oldest spirit," 5 Sep. 2020 And can be secure enough in their own talents and know-how and abilities to absorb a few shots from people on the outside who criticize a few mistakes along the way. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Gordon Monson: Here’s exactly what Real Salt Lake should do to become great again," 12 Sep. 2020 Justin arrived at Destrehan High School measuring just 5-foot-7 and 125 pounds, but possessing the know-how that could only come from years of tagging along in Death Valley and running routes with his brothers. Ben Goessling, Star Tribune, "Former LSU receiver Justin Jefferson grabbing a lot of attention with Vikings," 11 Sep. 2020 In true southeast Louisiana fashion, the LaPlace council has all the equipment, plus the know-how, for big-batch meals. Karen Taylor,, "LaPlace Knights of Columbus head to devastated Lake Charles to serve red beans and jambalaya," 10 Sep. 2020 Canopy believes this product can stand out from the crowd because of Stewart's know-how and cachet, said David Klein, Canopy's CEO. Alicia Wallace, CNN, "Martha Stewart launches CBD line in crowded market," 10 Sep. 2020 Listen to a significant other, a business partner or someone in the know. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Sept. 8, 2020: Happy birthday Pink; Capricorn, be a team player," 8 Sep. 2020 There’s a fairly new tool on the market that assesses flood risk for residential properties in the U.S., keeping homeowners and house hunters in the know. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Hurricane Laura and the Fed pack a one-two punch, pushing global stocks lower," 27 Aug. 2020 Here’s a view of a theme park in the near future, informed by people in the know. Robert Morast,, "Hourly pricing, virtual concierges: Designers’ fantastic ideas for future theme parks," 23 Aug. 2020

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

15 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Know.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for know


How to pronounce know (audio)

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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