\ 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 But this is Rhode Island, where people know each other., "Forensic pathologist Dr. Priya Banerjee: Learning from the dead to help the living," 29 Mar. 2021 Volkswagen is going electric, and in the U.S., reportedly a full-on name change is how Americans customers will know. Colin Beresford, Car and Driver, "VW of America Reportedly Changing Name to 'Voltswagen,' Maybe," 29 Mar. 2021 Servite lost 38-28 but the Braves know the Friars are closing in. Eric Sondheimer Columnist, Los Angeles Times, "Prep Rally: Trinity League football is in a league of its own," 29 Mar. 2021 Boston Dynamics, the company many people know for its dog robot Spot, has unveiled a new bot targeting warehouses. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "Boston Dynamics' new robot Stretch can help move boxes in warehouses," 29 Mar. 2021 Johnson called the defensive signals for the Rams and Hill will know where to be. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland, "Why are the Browns still obsessed with Jadeveon Clowney? Hey, Mary Kay!," 28 Mar. 2021 Birders may know Grosse Ile is in the path of the great spring and fall bird migrations that go through Point Pelee in Canada and the Lake Erie Metropark in the U.S. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "$1.5M Grosse Ile home has observation deck for majestic views of Detroit River," 27 Mar. 2021 The rest of Beavers supporting cast is essentially of a band of good college players who know their roles, play with passion and are beautifully interchangeable. John Canzano, oregonlive, "Canzano: Oregon State men’s basketball team believes it’s their time as they dance into Elite Eight," 27 Mar. 2021 Now the glory often goes to those who know the least and don’t even care. Jason Zweig, WSJ, "Robinhood Trader’s Battle Cry: ‘It’s All Just a Game to Me’," 26 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Humor, Rosdahl insists, is as important a trait for nurses as compassion and anatomical know-how. Curt Brown, Star Tribune, "Minnesota nurse looks back on a long career with humor," 27 Mar. 2021 From tricolor Saint James Breton shirts and Lip watches to pétanque sets and Papier Tigre notebooks, all profits are reinvested in the estate while also promoting local production and artisanal know-how. Lindsey Tramuta, Fortune, "French cultural institutions lean into an American phenomenon: Merch," 27 Mar. 2021 The industry says proprietary know-how and intellectual property — which protect profitable monopolies on its products — are the backbone for innovation and production deals with preferred contract manufacturers. Washington Post, "Advocates want NIH to use its Moderna vaccine patent to push for global access," 25 Mar. 2021 But when asked to play a specific role, both should provide Woods with veteran experience, know-how and enough athletic chops to still make some plays. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "What key roles can Anthony Walker and Malik Jackson fill for the Browns defense? -- Film Review," 24 Mar. 2021 Financial know-how can set your little one up for lifelong well-being. Simon Hill, Wired, "How to Teach Your Kids About Money," 21 Mar. 2021 Corporate partners bring the supply chains, expertise, and valuable know-how along with their capital to the investment equation and may be the linchpin to catalyzing investment and delivering solutions at scale. Rob Kaplan, Forbes, "How An Innovative Partnership Between Dow And Lucro, An Indian Recycling Start-Up, May Provide The Blueprint For Solving Our Biggest Climate Challenges On A Global Scale," 17 Mar. 2021 Though West owns it, Adidas currently operates his Yeezy Supply e-commerce site where sneakers are released, lending its operational know-how to get shoes to shoppers who rush for the latest styles. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "Kanye West and Gap have billion-dollar ambitions for Yeezy deal," 17 Mar. 2021 Could Field & Stream take a hunting know-nothing, a gun ignoramus-in other words, someone like me—and send her on one of the toughest hunts in North America? Susan Casey, Field & Stream, "F&S Classics: An Improbable Elk Hunt," 6 Dec. 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

1 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Know.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 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

Comments on know

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