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[noh] /noʊ/
verb (used with object), knew, known, knowing.
to perceive or understand as fact or truth; to apprehend clearly and with certainty:
I know the situation fully.
to have established or fixed in the mind or memory:
to know a poem by heart; Do you know the way to the park from here?
to be cognizant or aware of:
I know it.
be acquainted with (a thing, place, person, etc.), as by sight, experience, or report:
to know the mayor.
to understand from experience or attainment (usually followed by how before an infinitive):
to know how to make gingerbread.
to be able to distinguish, as one from another:
to know right from wrong.
Archaic. to have sexual intercourse with.
verb (used without object), knew, known, knowing.
to have knowledge or clear and certain perception, as of fact or truth.
to be cognizant or aware, as of some fact, circumstance, or occurrence; have information, as about something.
the fact or state of knowing; knowledge.
in the know, possessing inside, secret, or special information.
know the ropes, Informal. to understand or be familiar with the particulars of a subject or business:
He knew the ropes better than anyone else in politics.
Origin of know1
before 900; Middle English knowen, knawen, Old English gecnāwan; cognate with Old High German -cnāhan, Old Norse knā to know how, be able to; akin to Latin (g)nōvī, Greek gignṓskein. See gnostic, can1
Related forms
knower, noun
1. Know, comprehend, understand imply being aware of meanings. To know is to be aware of something as a fact or truth: He knows the basic facts of the subject. I know that he agrees with me. To comprehend is to know something thoroughly and to perceive its relationships to certain other ideas, facts, etc. To understand is to be fully aware not only of the meaning of something but also of its implications: I could comprehend all he said, but did not understand that he was joking.


[noh, nou] /noʊ, naʊ/
noun, Scot. and North England.
knoll1 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for know
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You know that Milbrey girl must get her effrontery direct from where they make it.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • It's the Viluca—Mr. Bines, you know; he's bringing his sister back to me.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Don't mind him, dad—I know all about it, I tell you—I'll explain later to you.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Without reasons I was sure of, you know, so there could be no chance of any mistake.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • I know that I have spoken of him as I ought not to have spoken.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
British Dictionary definitions for know


verb (mainly transitive) knows, knowing, knew (njuː), known (nəʊn)
(also intransitive; may take a clause as object) to be or feel certain of the truth or accuracy of (a fact, etc)
to be acquainted or familiar with: she's known him five years
to have a familiarity or grasp of, as through study or experience: he knows French
(also intransitive; may take a clause as object) to understand, be aware of, or perceive (facts, etc): he knows the answer now
(foll by how) to be sure or aware of (how to be or do something)
to experience, esp deeply: to know poverty
to be intelligent, informed, or sensible enough (to do something): she knew not to go home yet
(may take a clause as object) to be able to distinguish or discriminate
(archaic) to have sexual intercourse with
I know what, I have an idea
know what's what, to know how one thing or things in general work
(informal) you know, a parenthetical filler phrase used to make a pause in speaking or add slight emphasis to a statement
you never know, things are uncertain
(informal) in the know, aware or informed
Derived Forms
knowable, adjective
knower, noun
Word Origin
Old English gecnāwan; related to Old Norse knā I can, Latin noscere to come to know
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 know

Old English cnawan (class VII strong verb; past tense cneow, past participle cnawen), "to know, perceive; acknowledge, declare," from Proto-Germanic *knew- (cf. Old High German bi-chnaan, ir-chnaan "to know"), from PIE root *gno- "to know" (cf. Old Persian xšnasatiy "he shall know;" Old Church Slavonic znati, Russian znat "to know;" Latin gnoscere; Greek *gno-, as in gignoskein; Sanskrit jna- "know"). Once widespread in Germanic, this form is now retained only in English, where however it has widespread application, covering meanings that require two or more verbs in other languages (e.g. German wissen, kennen, erkennen and in part können; French connaître, savoir; Latin novisse, cognoscere; Old Church Slavonic znaja, vemi). The Anglo-Saxons used two distinct words for this, witan (see wit) and cnawan.

Meaning "to have sexual intercourse with" is attested from c.1200, from the Old Testament. To not know one's ass from one's elbow is from 1930. To know better "to have learned from experience" is from 1704. You know as a parenthetical filler is from 1712, but it has roots in 14c. To know too much (to be allowed to live, escape, etc.) is from 1872. As an expression of surprise, what do you know attested by 1914.


"inside information" (as in in the know), 1883; earlier "fact of knowing" (1590s), from know (v.).

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


Related Terms

in the know

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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Idioms and Phrases with know
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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