know·​ing | \ ˈnō-iŋ How to pronounce knowing (audio) \

Definition of knowing

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having or reflecting knowledge, information, or intelligence
2a : shrewdly and keenly alert : astute a knowing observer
b : indicating possession of exclusive inside knowledge or information a knowing smile
3 : cognitive
4 : deliberate knowing interference in the affairs of another



Definition of knowing (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from knowing


knowingly adverb
knowingness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for knowing

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of knowing in a Sentence

Adjective She looked at us in a knowing way. exchanged a knowing look with her business partner during the sales presentation
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Its buildings now resemble its brands: cooler, cuter, greener, more knowing and ironic. Darran Anderson, The Atlantic, "Why Every City Feels the Same Now," 24 Aug. 2020 Instead, Doe must show Michigan State harmed her through obvious and knowing indifference: school officials knew about what happened and then looked the other way. Michael Mccann,, "Title IX Lawsuit Over Players' Alleged Rape Adds to Michigan State's Growing Legal Troubles," 13 Apr. 2018 Here, a simple introduction -- a knowing glance among friends -- takes place. Susan Scutti, CNN, "Ovarian cancer vaccine shows promising results in human study," 11 Apr. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Of course, much analysis will be put into whether the new laugh is a more knowing-sounding laugh. Chris Willman,, "Review: Taylor Swift turns on a facsimile machine for ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ and its ingenious recreations," 9 Apr. 2021 Those are the three post-pandemic buzzwords worth knowing, says Ioanna Dretta, CEO of Marketing Greece, a nonprofit organization that promotes Greek tourism. Christopher Elliott, USA TODAY, "How lockdowns, quarantines and COVID testing will change summer travel in 2021," 9 Apr. 2021 Sitting presidents frequently rely on past chief executives for advice — or just a knowing ear to vent about perhaps the most difficult job in the world. John T. Bennett, Washington Examiner, "Bromance: Obama is the former president to whom Biden speaks most," 8 Apr. 2021 But who knew how long these birds had been there without our knowing? Lauren Markham, Harper's Magazine, "The Crow Whisperer," 16 Mar. 2021 The comfort, the ease, the knowing of each other is the same. Julie Beck, The Atlantic, "Elementary-School Friendships Are, at Age 70, a ‘Plumb Line to the Past’," 2 Apr. 2021 As an ensemble, the Westerlies produce magisterial sounds as well as pained ones, execute deft improvisations, and project both affecting sincerity and knowing wit. Larry Blumenfeld, WSJ, "‘This Land’ by Theo Bleckmann and the Westerlies and ‘Migration of Silence Into and Out of the Tone World, Volumes 1-10’ by William Parker Reviews: Refreshing the Protest Song," 9 Mar. 2021 Employees will feel more comfortable knowing that their employer is confirming that co-workers have been vaccinated. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, "To open the economy quicker, should the U.S. consider a “green passport” like Israel?," 5 Mar. 2021 And to see, with these images and this book, that even that internal knowing comes from something older and deeper truly blows me away. Enuma Okoro, Harper's BAZAAR, "A New Book of Photographs Traces the Portrayal of Black African Women Through Time," 1 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'knowing.' 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 knowing


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for knowing

Time Traveler

The first known use of knowing was in the 14th century

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Statistics for knowing

Cite this Entry

“Knowing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for knowing



English Language Learners Definition of knowing

: showing that you have special knowledge


know·​ing | \ ˈnō-iŋ \

Kids Definition of knowing

1 : having or showing special knowledge, information, or intelligence
2 : shrewdly and keenly alert The baby looked around with knowing eyes.

Other Words from knowing

knowingly adverb



Legal Definition of knowing

1 : having or reflecting knowledge a knowing and intelligent waiver of counsel — see also intelligent
2 : deliberate sense 2 knowing possession knowing endangerment — compare mens rea

Other Words from knowing

knowingly adverb

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Comments on knowing

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