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90s Slang You Should Know


[ken] /kɛn/
knowledge, understanding, or cognizance; mental perception:
an idea beyond one's ken.
range of sight or vision.
verb (used with object), kenned or kent, kenning.
Chiefly Scot.
  1. to know, have knowledge of or about, or be acquainted with (a person or thing).
  2. to understand or perceive (an idea or situation).
Scots Law. to acknowledge as heir; recognize by a judicial act.
Archaic. to see; descry; recognize.
British Dialect Archaic.
  1. to declare, acknowledge, or confess (something).
  2. to teach, direct, or guide (someone).
verb (used without object), kenned or kent, kenning.
British Dialect.
  1. to have knowledge of something.
  2. to understand.
Origin of ken
before 900; Middle English kennen to make known, see, know, Old English cennan to make known, declare; cognate with Old Norse kenna, German kennen; akin to can1
Can be confused
ken, kin. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for kenned
Historical Examples
  • If "kenned" is the right reading, we must suppose the meaning to be "too clearly perceived."

  • He was a manly, pleasant lad, in the days when I kenned him.

    Janet's Love and Service Margaret M Robertson
  • "It was ane that kenned what he was saying weel eneugh," said Jeannie.

  • “I kenned by this time what he was to be at,” said John to Allison, when he had got thus far.

    Allison Bain Margaret Murray Robertson
  • It was but a puir Westland man that we kenned not the name o'.

    The Men of the Moss-Hags S. R. Crockett
  • Then one of the officers blew a whistle, and I kenned what that was for.

    Patsy S. R. Crockett
  • He never was a doonricht leear, sae lang's I kenned him—ony mair nor yersel!

    Heather and Snow George MacDonald
  • And I'm sure, if a' was kenned, I have more to complain o' than she has.

    The House with the Green Shutters George Douglas Brown
  • "I kenned her the moment I saw her in the streets of this toon, not long before Christmas," was the reply.

    The Day of Judgment Joseph Hocking
  • Now "Auld Anton" of the Duchrae was a kenned man all over the country-side.

    The Men of the Moss-Hags S. R. Crockett
British Dictionary definitions for kenned


range of knowledge or perception (esp in the phrases beyond or in one's ken)
verb kens, kenning, kenned, kent (kɛnt)
(Scot & Northern English, dialect) to know
(Scot & Northern English, dialect) to understand; perceive
(transitive) (archaic) to see
Word Origin
Old English cennan; related to Old Norse kenna to perceive, Old High German kennen to make known; see can1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for kenned



"to know," Scottish dialect, from Old English cennan "make known, declare, acknowledge" (in late Old English also "to know"), originally "make to know," causative of cunnan "to become acquainted with, to know" (see can (v.)). Cognate with German kennen, Danish kjende, Swedish känna. Related: Kenned; kenning.


"range of sight," 1580s, a nautical abbreviation of kenning.

"house where thieves meet," 1560s, vagabonds' slang, probably a shortening of kennel.



"house where thieves meet," 1560s, vagabonds' slang, probably a shortening of kennel.



"range of sight," 1580s, a nautical abbreviation of kenning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for kenned



A conformist, conventional man; a man lacking any but bland typical characteristics: Mr Quayle has been called a sort of Ken/ Bergin, the male villain, is reprising his role as the Ken-doll monster of Sleeping With the Enemy

[fr the male counterpart of the Barbie doll]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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