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

hip, wise

Antonyms: Adjective


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Examples of knowing in a Sentence


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

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

Did Kim and Kanye pull a parenting trick on their oldest daughter and turn her mic off without her knowing? Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "North West Grabbed a Mic and Performed at Kanye West's Sunday Service," 8 Apr. 2019 Scent-free rubber and insulating neoprene will keep you outside without the hunted knowing. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Boots for Stomping Through Mud," 29 Mar. 2019 While most violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act’s disclosure provisions are misdemeanors, a knowing and willful violation could be a felony. New York Times, "Giuliani Says Trump Repaid Cohen for Stormy Daniels Hush Money," 2 May 2018 Magic Words: Nocturnal knowings lead to daybreak awakenings. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Weekly Horoscopes October 29-November 4," 28 Oct. 2018 The Cabana editor in chief grew up in a Renzo Mongiardino home; she was exposed to artful excellence early on, which laid the foundation for her knowing design eye. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Catching Up With Cabana: The Treasured Magazine Releases an Anthology and Debuts a Pop-Up Shop," 14 Sep. 2018 Far easier to denounce the enemy and enjoy the knowing nods of your friends. Barton Swaim, WSJ, "Politics Books: The Fire This Time," 27 Sep. 2018 Almost everyone worth knowing has been canceled by someone. Jonah Engel Bromwich, New York Times, "Everyone Is Canceled," 28 June 2018 Until this period, theologians used counterfactuals only as a way to prove God’s goodness, and Divine Providence—the deity as all-powerful, all-knowing, and all goodness. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "What if Napoleon Hadn’t Lost Europe and Other Questions of Alternate History," 14 June 2018

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

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on knowing

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with knowing

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for knowing

Spanish Central: Translation of knowing

Nglish: Translation of knowing for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of knowing for Arabic Speakers

Comments on knowing

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


showing great care, attention, and effort

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