Nearby words

  1. know where one stands,
  2. know which side of one's bread is buttered,
  3. know-all,
  4. know-how,
  5. know-it-all,
  6. know-nothings,
  7. knowable,
  8. knowe,
  9. knowed,
  10. knowhow

Origin of know-nothing

First recorded in 1815–25

Related formsknow-noth·ing·ism, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for know-nothing

British Dictionary definitions for know-nothing



informal, derogatory an ignorant person
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 know-nothing



"ignoramus," 1827, from know + nothing. As a U.S. nativist political party, active 1853-56, the name refers to the secret society at the core of the party, about which members were instructed to answer, if asked about it, that they "know nothing." The party eventually merged into the Republican Party.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper