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 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 On the flip side, one of the night’s biggest — and most knowing — laughs is when Dolly sighs before putting her mask back on after eating. Matthew J. Palm,, "A hearty ‘Hello’ to Garden Theatre’s life-affirming ‘Dolly’ | Review," 28 Aug. 2020 The novel also is a knowing, revealing look at life on a reservation. Chuck Haga, Star Tribune, "Review: 'Winter Counts,' by David Heska Wanbli Weiden," 21 Aug. 2020 The two walked for 15 minutes together — Frazier knowing Gallo might have needed pep talk. Sam Blum, Dallas News, "Despite Joey Gallo’s rough offensive week, Chris Woodward says Rangers slugger is ‘fine'," 15 Aug. 2020 To listen to Holiday is to listen to a woman who has lived and loved, and that acute transmission of heartache, of a resolute knowing, is her potency, like the water. Jessica Lynne, Longreads, "Miami: A Beginning," 10 Aug. 2020 Ezrin believes the device’s value lies not just in its musical innovation, but in its ability to awaken a deeper knowing. Elisia Guerena, Popular Mechanics, "The Plants That Make Music," 12 July 2020 Time will tell! Fuller House fans can rest easy knowing that the series will soon be returning to Netflix for part two of its fifth and final season, regardless of what's going on with actress Lori Loughlin. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "'Selling Sunset' Season 2: All the Details We Know About the Netflix Show's Return," 22 May 2020 The book is enriched by two distinct voices: one frank and vulnerable, the other all-knowing. Karen Heller, Washington Post, "In ‘Becoming Duchess Goldblatt,’ a Twitter celebrity is ready for her close-up — but her creator remains a mystery," 8 July 2020 Eco-conscious shoppers can rest easy knowing that throughout the entire life cycle of the sheets, extra steps are taken to ensure the product is pure and chemical-free. Banu Ibrahim, CNN Underscored, "Luxury linens that are worth the price," 25 June 2020

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

Last Updated

7 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Knowing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 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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Comments on knowing

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