Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[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. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for kenned
Historical Examples
  • I kenned it would end that way—and it is e'en this way that it should end!

    Red Cap Tales Samuel Rutherford Crockett
  • “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
  • I doubt you may have a sorer heart to carry about with you than you have kenned of yet.

    The Orphans of Glen Elder Margaret Murray Robertson
  • He was a manly, pleasant lad, in the days when I kenned him.

    Janet's Love and Service Margaret M Robertson
  • Then one of the officers blew a whistle, and I kenned what that was for.

    Patsy S. R. Crockett
  • 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
  • But I dinna ken if it would be wi' t' Master, if he kenned all we do.

    Mrs. Severn, Vol. 1 (of 3) Mary Elizabeth Carter
  • At your age I had kenned the bride-bed, and the birth-bed, and o' but kenned the death-bed.

    Barbara Lynn Emily J. Jenkinson
  • It was but a puir Westland man that we kenned not the name o'.

    The Men of the Moss-Hags S. R. Crockett
  • 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
Cite This Source
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.



"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
Cite This Source
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.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for kenned

Word Value for kenned

Scrabble Words With Friends