1. affecting, implying, or deliberately revealing shrewd knowledge of secret or private information: a knowing glance.
  2. that knows; having knowledge or information; intelligent.
  3. shrewd, sharp, or astute.
  4. conscious; intentional; deliberate.

Origin of knowing

1325–75; Middle English knawynge (earlier knowende, knawande). See know1, -ing2
Related formsknow·ing·ly, adverbknow·ing·ness, noun

Synonyms for knowing Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for knowingness

Historical Examples of knowingness

  • She has hitherto prided herself on her mental acumen and on her knowingness.

  • The little man had lost in a moment his glib assurance, his knowingness about the pathways of the soul.

  • Guildford was nearer town; "a better class of people go there," he said, with the knowingness that grated on Margaret.

    Margaret Vincent

    Sophia Lucy Clifford

  • The next step was to assume phrase and gesture as the outward and visible mode of knowingness in general.

    The Slang Dictionary

    John Camden Hotten

  • Frances, you know, goes in for knowingness—cleverness—the modern vice.

    The Confounding of Camelia

    Anne Douglas Sedgwick

British Dictionary definitions for knowingness


  1. suggesting secret information or knowledge
  2. wise, shrewd, or clever
  3. deliberate; intentional
  1. there is no knowing one cannot tell
Derived Formsknowingly, adverbknowingness, noun
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 knowingness



"with knowledge of truth," late 14c., from present participle of know (v.). Related: Knowingly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper