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kenning

[ken-ing]
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noun
  1. a conventional poetic phrase used for or in addition to the usual name of a person or thing, especially in Icelandic and Anglo-Saxon verse, as “a wave traveler” for “a boat.”

Origin of kenning

From Old Norse, dating back to 1880–85; see origin at ken, -ing1

ken

[ken]
noun
  1. knowledge, understanding, or cognizance; mental perception: an idea beyond one's ken.
  2. range of sight or vision.
verb (used with object), kenned or kent, ken·ning.
  1. 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).
  2. Scots Law. to acknowledge as heir; recognize by a judicial act.
  3. Archaic. to see; descry; recognize.
  4. British Dialect Archaic.
    1. to declare, acknowledge, or confess (something).
    2. to teach, direct, or guide (someone).
verb (used without object), kenned or kent, ken·ning.
  1. 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 confusedken kin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for kenning

Historical Examples


British Dictionary definitions for kenning

kenning

noun
  1. a conventional metaphoric name for something, esp in Old Norse and Old English poetry, such as Old English bānhūs (bone house) for "body"

Word Origin

C14: from Old Norse, from kenna; see ken

ken

noun
  1. range of knowledge or perception (esp in the phrases beyond or in one's ken)
verb kens, kenning, kenned or kent (kɛnt)
  1. Scot and Northern English dialect to know
  2. Scot and Northern English dialect to understand; perceive
  3. (tr) archaic to see

Word Origin

Old English cennan; related to Old Norse kenna to perceive, Old High German kennen to make known; see can 1
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

Word Origin and History for kenning

n.

Old English cenning "procreation; declaration in court," present participle of ken (v.). From early 14c. in senses "sign, token; teaching, instruction;" c.1400 as "mental cognition." From 1883 as "periphrastic expression in early Germanic poetry;" in this sense it probably is from Old Norse cognate verb kenna "to know, to recognize, to feel or perceive; to call, to name (in a formal poetic metaphor)."

ken

v.

"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.

ken

n.2

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

ken

n.1

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper