verb (used with object), knew, known, knowing.
to perceive or understand as fact or truth; to apprehend clearly and with certainty:
I know the situation fully.
to have established or fixed in the mind or memory:
to know a poem by heart; Do you know the way to the park from here?
to be cognizant or aware of:
I know it.
be acquainted with (a thing, place, person, etc.), as by sight, experience, or report:
to know the mayor.
to understand from experience or attainment (usually followed by how before an infinitive):
to know how to make gingerbread.
to be able to distinguish, as one from another:
to know right from wrong.
Archaic. to have sexual intercourse with.
verb (used without object), knew, known, knowing.
to have or clear and certain perception, as of fact or truth.
to be cognizant or aware, as of some fact, circumstance, or occurrence; have information, as about something.
the fact or state of knowing; .
in the know, possessing inside, secret, or special information.
know the ropes, Informal. to understand or be familiar with the particulars of a subject or business:
He knew the ropes better than anyone else in politics.
verb (mainly transitive) knows, knowing, knew (njuː), known (nəʊn)
(also intransitive; may take a clause as object) to be or feel certain of the truth or accuracy of (a fact, etc)
to be acquainted or familiar with: she’s known him five years
to have a familiarity or grasp of, as through study or experience: he knows French
(also intransitive; may take a clause as object) to understand, be aware of, or perceive (facts, etc): he knows the answer now
(foll by how) to be sure or aware of (how to be or do something)
to experience, esp deeply: to know poverty
to be intelligent, informed, or sensible enough (to do something): she knew not to go home yet
(may take a clause as object) to be able to distinguish or discriminate
(archaic) to have sexual intercourse with
I know what, I have an idea
know what’s what, to know how one thing or things in general work
(informal) you know, a parenthetical filler phrase used to make a pause in speaking or add slight emphasis to a statement
you never know, things are uncertain
(informal) in the know, aware or informed
Old English cnawan (class VII strong verb; past tense cneow, past participle cnawen), “to know, perceive; acknowledge, declare,” from Proto-Germanic *knew- (cf. Old High German bi-chnaan, ir-chnaan “to know”), from PIE root *gno- “to know” (cf. Old Persian xšnasatiy “he shall know;” Old Church Slavonic znati, Russian znat “to know;” Latin gnoscere; Greek *gno-, as in gignoskein; Sanskrit jna- “know”). Once widespread in Germanic, this form is now retained only in English, where however it has widespread application, covering meanings that require two or more verbs in other languages (e.g. German wissen, kennen, erkennen and in part können; French connaître, savoir; Latin novisse, cognoscere; Old Church Slavonic znaja, vemi). The Anglo-Saxons used two distinct words for this, witan (see wit) and cnawan.
Meaning “to have sexual intercourse with” is attested from c.1200, from the Old Testament. To not know one’s ass from one’s elbow is from 1930. To know better “to have learned from experience” is from 1704. You know as a parenthetical filler is from 1712, but it has roots in 14c. To know too much (to be allowed to live, escape, etc.) is from 1872. As an expression of surprise, what do you know attested by 1914.
“inside information” (as in in the know), 1883; earlier “fact of knowing” (1590s), from know (v.).
in the know
[nou, noh] /naʊ, noʊ/ noun, Scot. and North England. 1. 1 .
- Know from
verb phrase To know about; be acquainted with: I don’t know from trees much [1940s+; fr Yiddish vos vayz ikh fun]
- Know from adam
see: not know from Adam
- Know from nothing
verb phrase To be ignorant; be deeply uninformed or ill-informed: Gallo knows from nothing [1936+; fr Yiddish nit zu wissen fin gornisht]