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2017 Word of the Year

unbeknown

[uhn-bi-nohn] /ˌʌn bɪˈnoʊn/
adjective
1.
unknown; unperceived; without one's knowledge (usually followed by to).
Also, unbeknownst
[uhn-bi-nohnst] /ˌʌn bɪˈnoʊnst/ (Show IPA)
.
Origin of unbeknown
late Middle English
1630-1640
1630-40; un-1 + beknown (late Middle English beknowe, past participle of beknowen); see be-, known
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for unbeknown
Historical Examples
  • Where he come from and where he's gone to is unbeknown to me.

    The Poet at the Breakfast Table Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • I told Grant if he could let Jeff Davis escape all unbeknown to himself, to let him go.

    Abraham Lincoln William Eleroy Curtis
  • All unbeknown to himself, she had made him stand for his King.

    The Following of the Star Florence L. Barclay
  • That, or a three-pronged fork, said Cole, unbeknown to any but herself.

    The Search Party G. A. Birmingham
  • That wonderful man, as is always prowling about, unbeknown to any one.

    Cripps, the Carrier

    R. D. (Richard Doddridge) Blackmore
  • Half her can do is unbeknown to me, not having the brains as used to be.

    Perlycross R. D. Blackmore
  • How comes it you're took that way, all unbeknown t' your friends?

    Rowdy of the Cross L B.M. Sinclair, AKA B.M. Bower
  • It must be some stranger that has fallen in love with me unbeknown.

    Jack's Ward

    Horatio Alger, Jr.
  • Maybe, sir, them premises at the farm are also unbeknown to you.

    Clara Hopgood Mark Rutherford
  • Finally he spread his wings, and as he did so an impudent little goldcrest hopped (unbeknown to his great rival) on to his back.

British Dictionary definitions for unbeknown

unbeknown

/ˌʌnbɪˈnəʊn/
adverb
1.
(sentence modifier) foll by to. without the knowledge (of a person): unbeknown to him she had left the country Also (esp Brit) unbeknownst
adjective
2.
(rare) (postpositive) usually foll by to. not known (to)
Word Origin
C17: from the archaic beknown known; see be-, 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 unbeknown
adj.

1630s, from un- (1) "not" + beknown (see beknow).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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