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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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for knower
Historical Examples
  • In like manner the term 'lim (knower) is lawful, but not so the expression 'qil (Wise).

    The Faith of Islam Edward Sell
  • Our duty is to give information to Musalmns, and God is the best knower.

    The Faith of Islam Edward Sell
  • We call the knower or subject, Mind; and the known or object, Matter.

    Notes on Islam Ahmed Hussain
  • When he takes the attitude of a knower he begins to inquire.

  • Sum say knower had hens with him in the ark, and sum say he didn't.

    Josh Billings on Ice

    Henry Wheeler Shaw
  • Cognition takes place in so far as the known is in the knower.

  • There is one who is the knower, the subject, the ego, the perceiver.

    The Inner Consciousness Swami Prakashananda
  • The one is the builder, the other is the material; the one the knower and the other the known.

    The Mystery of Space Robert T. Browne
  • Nothing will remain unknown to you, the knower of the universe.

    Reincarnation Swami Abhedananda
  • Far from being as yet a Master, he but now begins to be a knower.

British Dictionary definitions for knower


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 knower



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 knower


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 knower
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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