\ 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 In the world outside the laboratory, this buried maternal seed inside all mammals mostly doesn’t germinate: As far as scientists know, baby rodents are rarely if ever nurtured by unrelated virgin females, and only seldom by males of any kind. Dina Litovsky, Smithsonian Magazine, "The New Science of Motherhood," 22 Apr. 2021 As Americans know from their own illustrious history, any nation’s well-being hinges on only a few factors. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "How Much Ruin Do We Have Left?," 22 Apr. 2021 On your way in don’t miss the panoramic view of the city and its three rivers when emerging from the Fort Pitt Tunnel; but also know there's a rapid merging of four lanes of traffic in a span of a few hundred feet that's a bit tricky. Hal B. Klein, Condé Nast Traveler, "Where to Eat, Stay, and Play in Pittsburgh," 22 Apr. 2021 Take 30 seconds this Earth Day and know your easy little clicks can make a massive difference. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "This Earth Day You Can Help Clean up the World's Oceans From Home Just by Watching 'Trash TV'," 22 Apr. 2021 Some know better than to drill a low-grade climbing route into a wall without taking a moment to observe their surroundings; many don’t. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "The Impossibility of Ethical Recreation on Stolen Land," 21 Apr. 2021 Researchers and consultants that understand CX know very little about EX, and vice versa. Sarah Johnson, Forbes, "Measuring Customer Experience And Employee Experience Is Pretty Much The Same, Right? Wrong.," 21 Apr. 2021 After Wednesday’s session, Senate President Matt Huffman, a Lima Republican, said voters often know more about local judges, who are less restricted in campaigning than statewide judicial candidates are. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, "Bill listing party ID for Ohio Supreme Court candidates clears Ohio Senate," 21 Apr. 2021 Prosecutors across the country can learn from the case on how to successfully prosecute officers for wrongful actions and now know the public will support it, Blackwell said. Lauren Castle, The Arizona Republic, "'Full accountability for everyone': Legal community applauds verdict in Minnesota trial of Derek Chauvin," 21 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This would be a daunting project even if Mr. Menand had established some disciplinary boundaries, but as readers of his criticism in the New Yorker know, his interests and insights range widely. Edward Rothstein, WSJ, "‘The Free World’ Review: Cold War Culture," 23 Apr. 2021 Typically not even even patients taking a drug on a daily basis know which drugmaker produced it. Chris Isidore, CNN, "Here's what Covid vaccines are worth to Big Pharma," 13 Mar. 2021 So there was just know, really enormous pressure, in particular because the leadership of al-Qaeda, both Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, were still on the loose. CBS News, "Former senior CIA officer recalls killing of service members by suicide bomber," 30 Dec. 2020 As the world shifted to function remotely due to the pandemic, video became essential — to stay in touch, shop and stay in the know. Gil Becker, Forbes, "The Majority Of Online Videos Are Missing This One Critical Thing," 9 Apr. 2021 As of Thursday, the department said roughly 232 million gallons remain. Sign up for Breaking News Alerts Be in the know. Li Cohen, CBS News, "Officials work to repair source of major leak in Florida wastewater reserve," 8 Apr. 2021 Hearing from those in the know (and confirming reports), the Celtics have made the best offer for Gordon but Denver and Houston have shown interest, too. Matt Eppers, USA TODAY, "Breaking down the contenders, pretenders as the action heats up before the 2021 NBA trade deadline," 24 Mar. 2021 Use sound business judgment, develop a list of business contacts and seek the opinions of those in the know. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for March 21, 2021: Taurus, go with the flow; Sagittarius, commit to mastering new subject," 21 Mar. 2021 To stay in the know about Lee’s upcoming themed tea party boxes and order food for pickup or delivery, visit and follow @honey_teahive on Instagram. Kolbie Peterson, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Get spicy Mexican fare, tasty tea sandwiches and other diverse Utah flavors in these themed food boxes," 3 Mar. 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

25 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Know.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 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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