• synonyms


See more synonyms for unbeknown on Thesaurus.com
  1. unknown; unperceived; without one's knowledge (usually followed by to).
Show More
Also un·be·knownst [uhn-bi-nohnst] /ˌʌn bɪˈnoʊnst/.

Origin of unbeknown

1630–40; un-1 + beknown (late Middle English beknowe, past participle of beknowen); see be-, known
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for unbeknownst

unperceived, unapprehended, undiscovered, unnamed, obscure, mysterious, concealed, unrecognized, anonymous

Examples from the Web for unbeknownst

Contemporary Examples of unbeknownst

Historical Examples of unbeknownst

  • That's 'bout the only way he'll ever do one, Frank, unbeknownst like.

    Old Man Curry

    Charles E. (Charles Emmett) Van Loan

  • Unbeknownst to her, Mildred would be protected against these dangers.

  • But unbeknownst to it, this very violence thrived on these pecuniary fertilizers.

    After the Rain

    Sam Vaknin

  • Some of them carriers, I expect, puttin' their horses in unbeknownst to you.

    An Outback Marriage

    Andrew Barton Paterson

  • Unbeknownst to yourself, dear, you bore him what he wanted, and what I wanted.

    The Soul of Susan Yellam

    Horace Annesley Vachell

British Dictionary definitions for unbeknownst


  1. (sentence modifier foll by to) without the knowledge (of a person)unbeknown to him she had left the country Also (esp Brit): unbeknownst
Show More
  1. (postpositive usually foll by to) rare not known (to)
Show More

Word Origin for unbeknown

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

Word Origin and History for unbeknownst

1833, vulgar formation from unbeknown (1630s). No clear reason for the -st, but since 19c. this has become the dominant form.

Show More



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

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper