\ ˈnō How to pronounce know (audio) \
knew\ ˈnü How to pronounce know (audio) also  ˈnyü \; known\ ˈnōn How to pronounce know (audio) \; 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

Other Words from know


knower \ ˈnō-​ər How to pronounce know (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for know

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of know in a Sentence

Verb 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Here's what pet owners should know heading into summer. Claire Rafford, The Indianapolis Star, 21 June 2022 Everyone should already know the options for whenever problems arise. Expert Panel, Forbes, 21 June 2022 Biden should know that reducing the gas tax will provide only modest relief to drivers. Sebastian Blanco, Car and Driver, 21 June 2022 People should know the truth about their DNA heritage, if at all possible. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, 20 June 2022 People should know the truth about their DNA heritage, if at all possible. Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, 20 June 2022 People should know the truth about their DNA heritage, if at all possible. cleveland, 20 June 2022 These are things young parents should know on this Father’s Day. John Archibald |, al, 19 June 2022 Businesses in the area have come to know them and are calling more often, Rekoski said. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Their Sriracha Chili Hot Sauce started as a niche condiment for those in the know, and quickly catapulted to a household name, almost completely through word of mouth. Morayo Ogunbayo, ajc, 17 June 2022 Anecdotally, many of those in the know also love them—Justin Bieber and Rio Ferdinand have both invested. Hannah Coates, Vogue, 17 June 2022 It’s, essentially, a movie-business story, with Sandler playing a member of the production staff, whose contributions are crucial, misunderstood, and nearly anonymous, except to other insiders in the know. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 8 June 2022 Sign up for your favorite grocery stores’ newsletters and emails to stay in the know about sales and recipe inspiration. Alysha Witwicki, Journal Sentinel, 6 June 2022 But those in the know will find a bar that is pretty much true to its name. Rob Duca,, 2 June 2022 Many of the original recipes remain on the menu today, including enchiladas and the green chile crisp — called GCC by those in the know — which has become a legendary staple. Georgann Yara, The Arizona Republic, 31 May 2022 That’s put a strain on remaining teams, especially as these firefighting professionals take their institutional know-how with them. Stephanie Elam, CNN, 10 June 2022 This will take technical know-how as well as experience working in Excel at a more advanced level, but the results will be significantly better. André Jensen, Forbes, 9 June 2022 See More

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.

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

Verb and Noun

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

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Time Traveler for know

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near know




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Last Updated

24 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Know.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for know


\ ˈnō How to pronounce know (audio) \
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.

More from Merriam-Webster on know

Nglish: Translation of know for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of know for Arabic Speakers


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