\ 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 Those who know people who got sick or died tend to take safety measures seriously, Wong said. Los Angeles Times, "Life in the pandemic in-between: Do we leap toward total freedom or tiptoe cautiously?," 10 Apr. 2021 Some of her classmates don’t know or understand all the wretched details and twists of fate Watson has endured. al, "Gaston’s ReAnna Watson becomes ‘perfect person’ despite tragedy," 10 Apr. 2021 Hinch didn't know if Teheran will miss extended time. Tom Withers, Star Tribune, "Reyes homers twice, Plesac strong as Indians beat Tigers," 9 Apr. 2021 Like most people, Hayes didn’t know initially that Sacks was gay. NBC News, "Neurologist Oliver Sacks' legacy and final days explored in 'His Own Life'," 9 Apr. 2021 For those who don't know: What is 'The Normal Heart'? Phillip Zonkel, USA TODAY, "Laverne Cox, Sterling K. Brown to star in 'The Normal Heart' virtual benefit reading," 8 Apr. 2021 This intense curiosity and willingness to ask questions comes as no surprise to those who know Bissell. Bruce Tulgan, Forbes, "Being A Mission-Driven CEO Means Listening—To Everyone," 8 Apr. 2021 The women, who do not know each other, told The Chronicle that Foppoli isolated and assaulted them after nights of drinking. Annie Vainshtein, San Francisco Chronicle, "What to know about Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli, who is accused of sexual assault," 8 Apr. 2021 Now, who doesn’t know how to chop up some ham and/or spinach? Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Transform leftover holiday ham into an elegant tart," 8 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Those in the know don’t skip a chance to try special single barrel releases, like the new Single Barrel Barrel Proof Rye, made from a mash bill of 70 percent rye, 12 percent malt and 18 percent corn. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, "The 10 Best Tennessee Whiskeys to Drink Right Now," 2 Mar. 2021 Journalists with the knowledge and experience of Luthern, Barton and Smith keep the people of Wisconsin in the know about important matters thanks to our subscribers. George Stanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Stanley: From city injustice to rushed wolf hunt, reporters with knowledge and skill inform Wisconsin," 27 Feb. 2021 For those already in the know, the film functions as a reminder of the racial tension of the 1960s and a tragic story that feels all too familiar in 2021. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, "Cleveland-shot ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ puts racial tension of the 1960s on full display," 12 Feb. 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

13 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Know.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 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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