unknown

adjective
un·​known | \ˌən-ˈnōn \

Definition of unknown 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: not known or not well-known also : having an unknown value an unknown quantity

unknown

noun

Definition of unknown (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one that is not known or not well-known especially : a person who is little known (as to the public)

2 : something that requires discovery, identification, or clarification: such as

a : a symbol (such as x, y, or z) in a mathematical equation representing an unknown quantity

b : a specimen (as of bacteria or mixed chemicals) required to be identified as an exercise in appropriate laboratory techniques

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Synonyms for unknown

Synonyms: Adjective

unbeknownst (also unbeknown)

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Examples of unknown in a Sentence

Adjective

a disease of unknown cause Much remains unknown about his early life. Her music was previously unknown outside of Asia. An unknown number of cases go unreported. The victim's attacker was unknown to her. For some unknown reason, my computer crashed. a book of unknown poems

Noun

explorers venturing off into the unknown A fear of the unknown kept her from changing jobs. The director cast an unknown in the lead role. We're facing too many unknowns.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Buzzfeed reported that the Berkeley, California resident's cause of death was (and still is, at the time of reporting) unknown, but that a candlelight vigil to honor his life would be held in Berkeley on Thursday, November 29. Allie Gemmill, Teen Vogue, "Brandon Moore, Creator of the "What Are Those?" Vine, Has Died at 31," 28 Nov. 2018 Currently, the cost is unknown—but the since the renovations will be paid for by the taxpayer, those numbers will be made available later this year. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Inside Frogmore Cottage, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s New Windsor Home," 26 Nov. 2018 All jerseys will be available on November 9th in the in-game shop, though the price is unknown. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Fortnite will start selling NFL skins this week," 5 Nov. 2018 In early July, the couple confirmed via Instagram that they were engaged, but the exact date of their wedding was still unknown. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin Just Made Their Marriage Instagram Official," 16 Nov. 2018 Lindsey Graham, Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch were posted by an unknown person located in the House of Representatives on Thursday during the hearing of Supreme Court Nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Lukas Mikelionis, Fox News, "Republican senators doxxed on Wikipedia by someone from House of Representatives after Kavanaugh hearing," 28 Sep. 2018 The architect is unknown; according to listing agent William Bedgood the home was built in 1954 by an engineer who moved to Marietta from California to work for Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin). Megan Barber, Curbed, "Untouched midcentury modern gem asks $535K," 18 Sep. 2018 These words were unknown—uncoined even—just ten years ago. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Made-Up Travel Words We Love to Hate," 18 July 2018 Someone reported two of his nonprofit’s checks totaling $4,000 cashed by an unknown person. Kari Barnett, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Boca Raton area crime log: June 19-July 4," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For those truly delving into the unknown of gift giving, sticking to the basics will work in your favor. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "27 Foolproof Gift Ideas for Neighbors, Coworkers, and Other Pseudo-Strangers," 12 Nov. 2018 Where the post-Breaking Bad future is concerned, Better Call Saul has routinely delved into the unknown, providing glimpses of Jimmy McGill’s relatively bleak existence as Omaha Cinnabon manager Gene Takovic. Karen Han, Vox, "Better Call Saul returns to Breaking Bad — with astonishing results," 9 Sep. 2018 Some interpret the story as a parable for the pursuit of happiness, but the journey into the unknown is what resonated with Arsham and Mustonen. Diana Budds, Curbed, "Play it forward," 18 July 2018 Investors should stick to banks with fewer unknowns. Aaron Back, WSJ, "Still Too Early to Get Back on Wells Fargo’s Wagon," 10 May 2018 Some of Lyle's remains had been buried for decades with other Tarawa unknowns at the cemetery nicknamed the Punchbowl in Honolulu. Salem Statesman Journal, OregonLive.com, "Remains of Marine killed in WWII heading home to Oregon," 4 Apr. 2018 Kering recently appointed Daniel Lee, a relative unknown in the industry, to revive Bottega Veneta. Matthew Dalton, WSJ, "Chinese Shoppers Power Gucci’s Sales Growth," 23 Oct. 2018 Overwhelmed by trauma, or a personal insurance battle, or the sheer complexities and unknowns of rebuilding, they are trapped in limbo. Susie Cagle, Curbed, "California’s changing fire country," 10 Oct. 2018 Among the unknowns is the public’s appetite for punitive measures, even in staunchly antiabortion states. Evan Halper, latimes.com, "If a reshaped Supreme Court tosses abortion decisions back to states, several would move fast to outlaw the procedures," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unknown.' 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 unknown

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for unknown

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unknown

The first known use of unknown was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for unknown

unknown

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of unknown

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not known

: not well-known : not famous

unknown

noun

English Language Learners Definition of unknown (Entry 2 of 2)

the unknown : a place, situation, or thing that you do not know about or understand

: a person who is not famous or well-known

: something that is not known or not yet discovered

unknown

adjective
un·​known | \ˌən-ˈnōn \

Kids Definition of unknown

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not known … it was cut all over with strange lines and figures that might be the letters of an unknown language.— C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

unknown

noun

Kids Definition of unknown (Entry 2 of 2)

: one (as a quantity) that is unknown

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More from Merriam-Webster on unknown

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unknown

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unknown

Spanish Central: Translation of unknown

Nglish: Translation of unknown for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unknown for Arabic Speakers

Comments on unknown

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