knowl·​edge ˈnä-lij How to pronounce knowledge (audio)
: the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association
: acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique
: the fact or condition of being aware of something
: the range of one's information or understanding
answered to the best of my knowledge
: the circumstance or condition of apprehending truth or fact through reasoning : cognition
: the fact or condition of having information or of being learned
a person of unusual knowledge
: the sum of what is known : the body of truth, information, and principles acquired by humankind
archaic : a branch of learning
archaic : sexual intercourse
obsolete : cognizance
Choose the Right Synonym for knowledge

knowledge, learning, erudition, scholarship mean what is or can be known by an individual or by humankind.

knowledge applies to facts or ideas acquired by study, investigation, observation, or experience.

rich in the knowledge of human nature

learning applies to knowledge acquired especially through formal, often advanced, schooling.

a book that demonstrates vast learning

erudition strongly implies the acquiring of profound, recondite, or bookish learning.

an erudition unusual even in a scholar

scholarship implies the possession of learning characteristic of the advanced scholar in a specialized field of study or investigation.

a work of first-rate literary scholarship

Example Sentences

At that time the word science had not been narrowed down to one kind of knowledge; it meant whatever was known, and men of learning were still able to possess most of it. Jacques Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence, 2000
With their aid, he should be able to adapt himself selectively to his culture, rejecting its evils, stupidities and irrelevances, gratefully accepting all its treasures of accumulated knowledge … and practical wisdom. Aldous Huxley, "Culture and the … ," in Artificial Paradises, Mike Jay editor1999
The knowledge of the godawful way people act (their greed, their vicarious or direct violence), and of the youth and helplessness of those who died, leads to shame … Harold Brodkey, New Yorker, 30 Jan. 1995
She has little knowledge of fashion. He has devoted himself to the pursuit of knowledge. She gained a thorough knowledge of local customs. Did you have any knowledge of her intentions? See More
Recent Examples on the Web Shimon’s musical knowledge is drawn from training on huge datasets of lyrics, around 20,000 prog rock songs and another 20,000 jazz songs. IEEE Spectrum, 15 Feb. 2023 An Indian government official with direct knowledge of the matter described the visit by tax officials as a survey but didn’t give any other information. Bibhudatta Pradhan,, 14 Feb. 2023 Multiple people with direct knowledge of the situation told The News Marriott has surveillance video of the encounter between Irvin and the female employee. Dallas News, 10 Feb. 2023 Yu Darvish has agreed to a new contract with the San Diego Padres that guarantees the pitcher an additional $90 million and will keep him with the club through the 2028 season, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said Thursday. Bernie Wilson,, 9 Feb. 2023 Yu Darvish has agreed to a contract with the San Diego Padres that guarantees the 36-year-old right-hander an additional $90 million and will keep him with the club through the 2028 season, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said Thursday. San Francisco Chronicle, 9 Feb. 2023 Alabama is hiring Notre Dame assistant coach Tommy Rees to be its offensive coordinator, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told the Associated Press on Friday. Ralph D. Russo, Chicago Tribune, 3 Feb. 2023 Reuters reported Wednesday that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) was examining the stock price falls and also looking into any possible irregularities in the abortive share sale, citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter. Diksha Madhok, CNN, 2 Feb. 2023 The former president avoided making a public endorsement at McDaniel’s request, according to those with direct knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. Steve Peoples, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Jan. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English knowlege, from knowlechen to acknowledge, irregular from knowen

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Time Traveler
The first known use of knowledge was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near knowledge

Cite this Entry

“Knowledge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


knowl·​edge ˈnäl-ij How to pronounce knowledge (audio)
: understanding or skill gained by experience
a knowledge of carpentry
: the state of being aware of something or of having information
: the range of one's information or understanding
answered to the best of my knowledge
: something learned and kept in the mind : learning
has a vast knowledge of history

Legal Definition


: awareness or understanding especially of an act, a fact, or the truth : actual knowledge in this entry
: awareness that a fact or circumstance probably exists
broadly : constructive knowledge in this entry see also scienter, willful blindness

Note: Knowledge fundamentally differs from intent in being grounded in awareness rather than purpose.

actual knowledge
: direct and clear awareness (as of a fact or condition) the bank had actual knowledge that the name and account number referred to different persons
: awareness of such information as would cause a reasonable person to inquire further
specifically : such awareness considered as a timely and sufficient substitute for actual notice (as of a work-related injury or of a bankruptcy proceeding)
ruled that the employer did not have actual notice or actual knowledge within 90 days
constructive knowledge
: knowledge (as of a condition or fact) that one using ordinary care or diligence would possess had constructive knowledge of the presence of narcotics on his property
personal knowledge
: direct knowledge of a matter or of the truth or falsity of an allegation a witness may not testify to a matter unless evidence is introduced sufficient to support a finding that the witness has personal knowledge of the matterFederal Rules of Evidence Rule 602
superior knowledge
: knowledge greater than that possessed by another
especially : awareness of a condition or fact that affects another who was not aware of it
denied having had superior knowledge of the hazard
superior knowledge of a factor in the performance of a contract
: the range of one's information, understanding, or expertise
answered to the best of his knowledge

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