\ˈnō \
knew\ˈnü also ˈnyü \; known\ˈnōn \; 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


knowable \ˈnō-ə-bəl \ adjective
knower \ˈnō-ər \ noun

Examples of know in a Sentence


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

That ruling overturned the 2015 decision by the state labor board, formally known as the Public Employment Relations Board. David Garrick,, "If state Supreme Court rules against San Diego on pensions, it could could cost city millions," 14 July 2018 The home, known as the house on bluff, also has high tech features. David Gleisner, Daily Southtown, "Rare glass house carved into hillside hits the market in Olympia Fields," 14 July 2018 Their cell membranes, for example, are made up of two different kinds of fatty molecules, known as lipids. Prachi Patel, Scientific American, "Engineered Microbe Shakes Up the Tree of Life," 13 July 2018 The Armenian Shadow Puppet Theater, known as Karagyoz, was especially popular in the 18th century. Allison Keyes, Smithsonian, "Illuminating the Shadowy Art of Armenian Puppet Theater," 13 July 2018 World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, was ejected 11 times during his 17 year NBA career. Joseph Spears, Indianapolis Star, "Metta World Peace ejected from game after punting the ball into the crowd," 13 July 2018 The 52-year-old site, officially known as Monarch Hill Renewable Energy Park, is inching toward being full. Anne Geggis,, "Mount Trashmore, the landfill that's over 20 stories, will grow bigger and taller," 13 July 2018 The Friant-Kern has been crippled by a phenomenon known as subsidence. Dale Kasler And Phillip Reese, sacbee, "The Valley floor is sinking, and it’s crippling California’s ability to deliver water," 13 July 2018 That’s what cybersecurity giant McAfee found during its investigation into underground and nefarious hacker marketplaces on the internet, commonly known as the Dark Web. Brooke Crothers, Fox News, "Access to airport security systems are being sold by hackers for as little as $10," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Greenblatt does not stint on heavy-handed allusions to you-know-who. Alex Beam,, "Stephen Greenblatt’s ‘Tyrant’ joins this year’s crop of hate reads," 2 May 2018 But getting around that barrier is easy — and legal — with a little know-how. Matthew Bennett, USA TODAY, "Save up to 88% by buying miles for premium flights," 10 July 2018 Stay in the know about state workers, unions and public pensions with a 99-cent subscription deal for state workers. Adam Ashton, sacbee, "Lottery thieves cheated California's scratcher game. Now retailers have new rules.," 22 June 2018 Have a concise schedule for the day, and make sure your whole team — and the public — are in the know. Jenni Corwin, Teen Vogue, "What Exactly a Die-In Is, and How to Organize Your Own," 6 July 2018 Those in the know suggest his latest effort could debut atop the list with over 700,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending July 5. Keith Caulfield, Billboard, "Drake's 'Scorpion' Set for Biggest Debut of 2018 & No. 1 on Billboard 200 Chart," 2 July 2018 Germany always finds a way, said those in the know as Kroos’s shot curled into the Swedish net as if guided by GPS. Christopher Clarey, New York Times, "Germany Crashes Out of World Cup With a Loss to South Korea," 28 June 2018 For those who aren’t in the know, Evins is a two-time winner of the Las Vegas Variety Entertainer of the Year award. Rod Stafford Hagwood,, "9 hot South Florida events in July," 25 June 2018 Those fruit farmers left survive by serving locals in the know — and in the case of Andy's Orchard, high-end chefs in Santa Monica. Shelby Grad,, "Essential California: An agonizing decision for asylum seekers," 25 June 2018

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


Middle English, from Old English cnāwan; akin to Old High German bichnāan to recognize, Latin gnoscere, noscere to come to know, Greek gignōskein


see know entry 1

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Statistics for know

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for know

The first known use of know was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for know


\ˈnō \
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

Spanish Central: Translation of know

Nglish: Translation of know for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of know for Arabic Speakers

Comments on know

What made you want to look up know? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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