[ uhn-bi-nohn ]

  1. unknown; unperceived; without one's knowledge (usually followed by to).

Origin of unbeknown

1630–40; un-1 + beknown (late Middle English beknowe, past participle of beknowen); see be-, known
  • Also un·be·knownst [uhn-bi-nohnst]. /ˌʌn bɪˈnoʊnst/.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use unbeknown in a sentence

  • His Majesty found that the Forge was not a bad residence for a King living unbeknownst.

  • Writing unbeknownst to her folks, with loose talk about her on the side, is another thing altogether.

    Stepsons of Light | Eugene Manlove Rhodes
  • However, she knew he did; so she slipped into the house unbeknownst, stole up to the giant's room, and crept in behind the bed.

    English Fairy Tales | Flora Annie Steel
  • Yer's been puttin' cotton in my baskit unbeknownst ter save me some lashes, an' yer throw'd it up ter me yistiddy.

  • Me blood was up whin I seen this spalpeen wid his dirty set o' vagabones waitin' to murther me if they ketched me unbeknownst.

    Ireland as It Is | Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

British Dictionary definitions for unbeknown


/ (ˌʌnbɪˈnəʊn) /

  1. (sentence modifier foll by to) without the knowledge (of a person): unbeknown to him she had left the country Also (esp Brit): unbeknownst

  1. (postpositive usually foll by to) rare not known (to)

Origin of 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