[ ken ]
See synonyms for ken on
  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.

    • to know, have knowledge of or about, or be acquainted with (a person or thing).

    • to understand or perceive (an idea or situation).

  2. Scots Law. to acknowledge as heir; recognize by a judicial act.

  1. Archaic. to see; descry; recognize.

  2. British Dialect, Archaic.

    • to declare, acknowledge, or confess (something).

    • to teach, direct, or guide (someone).

verb (used without object),kenned or kent, ken·ning.
  1. British Dialect.

    • to have knowledge of something.

    • to understand.

Origin of ken

First recorded 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,know1

Words that may be confused with ken

Words Nearby ken

Other definitions for Ken (2 of 3)

[ ken ]

  1. a male given name, form of Kendall or Kenneth.

Other definitions for Ken. (3 of 3)


  1. Kentucky. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use ken in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for ken (1 of 2)


/ (kɛn) /

  1. range of knowledge or perception (esp in the phrases beyond or in one's ken)

verbkens, kenning, kenned or kent (kɛnt)
  1. Scot and Northern English dialect to know

  2. Scot and Northern English dialect to understand; perceive

  1. (tr) archaic to see

Origin of ken

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

British Dictionary definitions for Ken. (2 of 2)


abbreviation for
  1. Kentucky

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