unbeknownst

play
adjective un·be·knownst \ ˌən-bi-ˈnōn(t)st \
variants: or less commonly unbeknown play \ˌən-bi-ˈnōn\

Definition of unbeknownst

1 :happening or existing without the knowledge of someone specified usually used with to
  • unbeknownst to us rumors were flying
2 :unknown

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Examples of unbeknownst in a Sentence

  1. unbeknownst to me, my mother was planning a party

Recent Examples of unbeknownst from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unbeknownst.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Unbeknownst derives from beknown, an obsolete synonym of known. But for a word with a straightforward history, unbeknownst and its older and less common variant unbeknown have created quite a flap among usage commentators. Despite widespread use (including appearances in the writings of Charles Dickens, A.E. Housman, and E.B. White), the two words have been called everything from "obsolete" to "vulgar." Our evidence, however, shows that both can be considered standard.

Origin and Etymology of unbeknownst

1un- + obsolete English beknown known; unbeknownst, irregular from unbeknown



UNBEKNOWNST Defined for Kids

unbeknownst

play
adjective un·be·knownst \ ˌən-bi-ˈnōnst \
variants: also unbeknown \-ˈnōn\

Definition of unbeknownst for Students

:happening without someone's knowledge :unknown
  • Unbeknownst to him, we were planning a surprise party.


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