\ 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Ahmed wants today’s young people to know: There is nothing inherently wrong with your identity., "‘I was too scared to tell anyone’: In new survey, 61 percent of Muslim students say they’ve been bullied in school," 4 May 2021 Nick Newby, who leads the team that cares for the elephants, has been getting to know the individual elephants and their habits for the past few years., "Former circus elephants begin to arrive at Florida sanctuary," 4 May 2021 And unfortunately, none of us are smart enough to know exactly how his body will respond to whatever’s next. Andrew Seligman, ajc, "White Sox's Robert could miss rest of year with hip injury," 4 May 2021 Moore happened to know a member and said last week's first look came up huge. Beth Ann Nichols, The Arizona Republic, "'Finally!' Former Arizona Wildcat Haley Moore to make U.S. Women's Open debut at Olympic," 4 May 2021 While that could roughly represent the number of residents vaccinated in other states, there's no way to know whether that's true. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan has no idea how many residents got their COVID-19 vaccine in other states," 4 May 2021 Although some students have elected to remain remote learners, staff and students who have returned have gotten the chance to get to know their new schools. Brian Slupski,, "Students finally getting to enjoy Leyden Township High School renovations," 4 May 2021 Neither side wanted a jury trial, leaving the decision to U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who already seems to know her ruling will probably be appealed, given the stakes in the case. Michael Liedtke, Anchorage Daily News, "Apple’s app store goes on trial in threat to ‘walled garden’ by maker of Fortnite game," 3 May 2021 Some kids were too young to know how to read yet, so navigating virtual classes was hard. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Grades start to improve in Salt Lake City School District. But don’t expect pre-pandemic scores.," 3 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun When in doubt, call your hometown's building department to stay in the know. Nafeesah Allen, Better Homes & Gardens, "5 Questions New Homeowners Should Ask to Minimize Contractor Spending," 23 Apr. 2021 Keeping you in the know, Culture Queue is an ongoing series of recommendations for timely books to read, films to watch and podcasts and music to listen to. CNN, "'Beginner's Guide to America' and 5 other works that illuminate the US immigrant experience," 21 Apr. 2021 This would be a daunting project even if Mr. Menand had established some disciplinary boundaries, but as readers of his criticism in the New Yorker know, his interests and insights range widely. Edward Rothstein, WSJ, "‘The Free World’ Review: Cold War Culture," 23 Apr. 2021 Typically not even even patients taking a drug on a daily basis know which drugmaker produced it. Chris Isidore, CNN, "Here's what Covid vaccines are worth to Big Pharma," 13 Mar. 2021 So there was just know, really enormous pressure, in particular because the leadership of al-Qaeda, both Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, were still on the loose. CBS News, "Former senior CIA officer recalls killing of service members by suicide bomber," 30 Dec. 2020 As the world shifted to function remotely due to the pandemic, video became essential — to stay in touch, shop and stay in the know. Gil Becker, Forbes, "The Majority Of Online Videos Are Missing This One Critical Thing," 9 Apr. 2021 As of Thursday, the department said roughly 232 million gallons remain. Sign up for Breaking News Alerts Be in the know. Li Cohen, CBS News, "Officials work to repair source of major leak in Florida wastewater reserve," 8 Apr. 2021 Hearing from those in the know (and confirming reports), the Celtics have made the best offer for Gordon but Denver and Houston have shown interest, too. Matt Eppers, USA TODAY, "Breaking down the contenders, pretenders as the action heats up before the 2021 NBA trade deadline," 24 Mar. 2021

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.

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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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Statistics for know

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Know.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for know



English Language Learners Definition of know

: to have (information of some kind) in your mind
: to understand (something) : to have a clear and complete idea of (something)
: to have learned (something, such as a skill or a language)


\ 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for know

Nglish: Translation of know for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of know for Arabic Speakers

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