[ ken-ing ]
/ ˈkɛn ɪŋ /


a conventional poetic phrase used for or in addition to the usual name of a person or thing, especially in Icelandic and Anglo-Saxon verse, as “a wave traveler” for “a boat.”

Nearby words

  1. kennesaw mountain,
  2. kenneth,
  3. kenneth i,
  4. kennett,
  5. kennewick,
  6. kenny,
  7. kenny method,
  8. kenny's treatment,
  9. kenny, elizabeth,
  10. keno

Origin of kenning

From Old Norse, dating back to 1880–85; see origin at ken, -ing1


[ ken ]
/ kɛn /


knowledge, understanding, or cognizance; mental perception: an idea beyond one's ken.
range of sight or vision.

verb (used with object), kenned or kent, ken·ning.

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

British Dialect.
  1. to have knowledge of something.
  2. to understand.

Origin of ken

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

Can be confusedken kin Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for kenning

British Dictionary definitions for kenning


/ (ˈkɛnɪŋ) /


a conventional metaphoric name for something, esp in Old Norse and Old English poetry, such as Old English bānhūs (bone house) for "body"

Word Origin for kenning

C14: from Old Norse, from kenna; see ken


/ (kɛn) /


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

verb kens, kenning, kenned or kent (kɛnt)

Scot and Northern English dialect to know
Scot and Northern English dialect to understand; perceive
(tr) archaic to see

Word Origin for ken

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

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

Word Origin and History for kenning
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper