1 [noh]
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 knowledge 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; knowledge.
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.

before 900; Middle English knowen, knawen, Old English gecnāwan; cognate with Old High German -cnāhan, Old Norse knā to know how, be able to; akin to Latin (g)nōvī, Greek gignṓskein. See gnostic, can1

knower, noun

1. Know, comprehend, understand imply being aware of meanings. To know is to be aware of something as a fact or truth: He knows the basic facts of the subject. I know that he agrees with me. To comprehend is to know something thoroughly and to perceive its relationships to certain other ideas, facts, etc. To understand is to be fully aware not only of the meaning of something but also of its implications: I could comprehend all he said, but did not understand that he was joking. Unabridged


2 [noh, nou]
noun Scot. and North England. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
know (nəʊ)
vb , knows, knowing, knew, known
1.  (also intr; may take a clause as object) to be or feel certain of the truth or accuracy of (a fact, etc)
2.  to be acquainted or familiar with: she's known him five years
3.  to have a familiarity or grasp of, as through study or experience: he knows French
4.  (also intr; may take a clause as object) to understand, be aware of, or perceive (facts, etc): he knows the answer now
5.  (foll by how) to be sure or aware of (how to be or do something)
6.  to experience, esp deeply: to know poverty
7.  to be intelligent, informed, or sensible enough (to do something): she knew not to go home yet
8.  (may take a clause as object) to be able to distinguish or discriminate
9.  archaic to have sexual intercourse with
10.  I know what I have an idea
11.  know what's what to know how one thing or things in general work
12.  informal you know a parenthetical filler phrase used to make a pause in speaking or add slight emphasis to a statement
13.  you never know things are uncertain
14.  informal in the know aware or informed
[Old English gecnāwan; related to Old Norse knā I can, Latin noscere to come to know]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. cnawan (class VII strong verb; past tense cneow, pp. cnawen), from P.Gmc. *knoeanan (cf. O.H.G. bi-chnaan, ir-chnaan "to know"), from PIE base *gno- "to know" (cf. O.Pers. xnasatiy "he shall know;" O.C.S. znati, Rus. znat "to know;" L. gnoscere; Gk. *gno-, as in gignoskein; Skt. jna- "know"). Once
widespread in Gmc., this form is now retained only in Eng., where however it has widespread application, covering meanings that require two or more verbs in other languages (e.g. Ger. wissen, kennen, erkennen and in part können; Fr. connaître, savoir; L. novisse, cognoscire, scire; O.C.S. 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 O.T. 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. M.E. Know-how "technical expertise" first recorded 1838 in Amer.Eng. Know-nothing "ignoramus" is from 1827; 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 merged into the Republican Party.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with know, also see before you know it; (know) by heart; come in out of the rain, know enough to; coming or going, know if one's; for all (I know); god knows; (know) inside out; in the know; it takes one to know one; left hand doesn't know what right hand is doing; not know beans; not know from Adam; not know where to turn; not know which way to jump; thing or two, know; what do you know; what have you (who knows what); which is which, know; you know.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Let's say you want to know the caloric and nutritional information in a recipe
  you are making for your family.
We feel that we've lost our way in the woods, that we don't know where we are
  going — if anywhere.
The struggle to know and understand the history of our people continues.
Dealers were sold out and callers swamped the station switchboard wanting to
  know where to buy stereo receivers.
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