Try Our Apps


Famous Last Words


[uhn-bi-nohn] /ˌʌn bɪˈnoʊn/
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
1630-40; un-1 + beknown (late Middle English beknowe, past participle of beknowen); see be-, known Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for unbeknown
Historical Examples
  • I told Grant if he could let Jeff Davis escape all unbeknown to himself, to let him go.

    Abraham Lincoln William Eleroy Curtis
  • That, or a three-pronged fork, said Cole, unbeknown to any but herself.

    The Search Party G. A. Birmingham
  • I was keeping it a secret, ma'am, for little Miss Betty's birthday, to give it her unbeknown.

  • That wonderful man, as is always prowling about, unbeknown to any one.

    Cripps, the Carrier R. D. (Richard Doddridge) Blackmore
  • unbeknown to him, Roger had come up behind, and was now on his hands and knees in the water.

    Dave Porter At Bear Camp Edward Stratemeyer
  • 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
  • Sometimes we would, unbeknown to our master, assemble in a cabin and sing songs and spirituals.

  • It must be some stranger that has fallen in love with me unbeknown.

    Jack's Ward Horatio Alger, Jr.
  • Would he take42 $2,100 out of Jim's money, unbeknown to Jim, and pay the balance of the price of the farm over what "mother" had?

    Danger Signals John A. Hill and Jasper Ewing Brady
  • Maybe, sir, them premises at the farm are also unbeknown to you.

    Clara Hopgood Mark Rutherford
British Dictionary definitions for unbeknown


(sentence modifier) foll by to. without the knowledge (of a person): unbeknown to him she had left the country Also (esp Brit) unbeknownst
(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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for unbeknown

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for unbeknown

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for unbeknown

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for unbeknown