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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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

That was an unknown entity in the U.S in the early 1970s, though Georges Karlweis had created a similar fund in Geneva. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Richard Elden Used Newspaper Skills to Find Best Bets in Hedge Funds," 13 July 2018 The Hammonds were virtually unknown outside eastern Oregon ranching circles before 2016. Jake Bullinger, Outside Online, "Trump’s Pardon Condones Western Rebellion," 12 July 2018 An unknown amount of cash was stolen from two ATMs in a Midtown grocery store after a car drove through the building’s back loading door. Katie Bernard, kansascity, "Car rams into Midtown grocery store; drivers steal cash from ATMs," 12 July 2018 For reasons largely unknown, the birds frequently attack cars and rip off parts of windshield wipers, sunroof seals, and rubber or vinyl parts. Jordyn Hermani, Indianapolis Star, "Black vultures are eating cows alive. But it's difficult to legally kill the birds.," 13 July 2018 Add it up, and there’s lot of potential, and lots of unknown, which should make the fall fun to watch. Albert Breer, SI.com, "Which Quarterbacks Will Rise to the Top of the 2019 NFL Draft Class?," 10 July 2018 Their identities are still unknown and all of them were reportedly released on bail. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "Iranian women are posting videos of themselves dancing in support of arrested Instagram star," 9 July 2018 North Korea, whose numbers are unknown but thought to be between 10 and 20 weapons, might as well be in the category as well. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. and Russia Are Shrinking Their Nuclear Arsenals—But China Isn't," 19 June 2018 Population status is unknown or shows evidence of declining in the other states. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Gars’ fortunes, anglers’ attitudes evolve over the years," 9 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

So there, a few quick unknowns about one of the Hornets' newest picks. Brendan Marks, charlotteobserver, "Hornets' Devonte' Graham got his NC homecoming. Now? Prove he's more than feel-good story.," 22 June 2018 This large-scale rescue effort is filled with unknowns. Evan Halper, latimes.com, "Racing to save Florida’s coral from climate change, scientists turn to a once-unthinkable strategy: ‘assisted evolution’," 9 July 2018 Still, as late as Friday the White House faced significant unknowns about how centrist Republican senators—and centrist Democrats facing re-election in states won by Mr. Trump—would react to the pick. Peter Nicholas, WSJ, "Trump Zeroes In on Supreme Court Pick," 6 July 2018 Each production features three live acts, none of whom are announced until the audience shows up at a venue unknown until the day before. Grace Dickinson, Philly.com, "Secret concert series Sofar Sounds is growing too big for the living room," 27 June 2018 Now, reports Maya Wei-Haas at National Geographic, researchers have determined that the gibbon is from an unknown and now extinct genus of the animal. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Extinct Gibbon Species Discovered in 2,000-Year-Old Chinese Tomb," 23 June 2018 With his next start date unknown, Blaine Hardy pitched in the seventh. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Michael Fulmer stumbles as Detroit Tigers lose to Cincinnati Reds, 5-3," 20 June 2018 Dealmakers will continue to face some unknowns for the duration of 2018. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "Term Sheet -- Friday, June 22," 22 June 2018 Beyond questions of dark matter, galactic simulation codes continue to improve, and reflect on other unknowns. Natalie Wolchover, WIRED, "The Universe Is Not a Simulation, but We Can Now Simulate It," 16 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

11 Oct 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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Comments on unknown

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