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
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 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 Swerve as an awakening: to lean over into new knowing — change course in thinking — alter a path, suddenly — be jolted, advised. Ellery Akers, New York Times, "A Poem About Changing Course," 7 May 2020 Kling has a way of earning the knowing nod without leaving listeners feeling targeted by pandering. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, "Review: Minnesota Orchestra’s ‘Home’ offers comfort and some joy," 15 Dec. 2019 One man, when trying to get by Gerwig in a tight spot, kicked her train out of the way without her knowing.) Time to eat! Erin Jensen, USA TODAY, "Stars came, partied and got their Oscars engraved: 8 major moments at the Governors Ball," 11 Feb. 2020 There was some hand-holding and knowing smiles shared between contestants on the stage. Kelly Schremph,, "This Is Probably Why The 2020 Bachelorette Isn’t From Peter’s Season," 10 Mar. 2020 The family is unsure what will happen in the coming days, but Quinlan is trying to stay positive knowing that his wife and son are alive. NBC News, "'The roof is sucking up': Nashville tornado survivors witness destruction, selflessness," 3 Mar. 2020 But where some writers might endow those onlookers with envy or suspicion, Prescott instead paints the group as nosy but caring, curious but protective, all-knowing but discreet. Annabel Gutterman, Time, "Secrets, All-Seeing Secretaries and a CIA Mission to Publish an Infamous Love Story," 19 Sep. 2019 Then of course there’s that rat diving headfirst into some New York City underworld of only its knowing, and with such aplomb. National Geographic, "The best unpublished photos of 2019," 19 Dec. 2019 With a knowing and experienced eye, Wisel describes the down-and-out milieus of her protagonists in wry but never condescending detail. Kathleen Rooney,, "This Chicago author helped research a book about R. Kelly. Now she’s won a prize for her gritty fiction about 4 strong women.," 4 Oct. 2019

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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Cite this Entry

“Knowing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for knowing


How to pronounce knowing (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for knowing

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with knowing

Spanish Central: Translation of knowing

Nglish: Translation of knowing for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of knowing for Arabic Speakers

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