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[noh-ing] /ˈnoʊ ɪŋ/
affecting, implying, or deliberately revealing shrewd knowledge of secret or private information:
a knowing glance.
that knows; having knowledge or information; intelligent.
shrewd, sharp, or astute.
conscious; intentional; deliberate.
Origin of knowing
1325-75; Middle English knawynge (earlier knowende, knawande). See know1, -ing2
Related forms
knowingly, adverb
knowingness, noun
1. meaningful, significant, eloquent, perceptive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for knowingness
Historical Examples
  • Frances, you know, goes in for knowingness—cleverness—the modern vice.

    The Confounding of Camelia Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • She has hitherto prided herself on her mental acumen and on her knowingness.

    Search-Light Letters Robert Grant
  • 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
  • The little man had lost in a moment his glib assurance, his knowingness about the pathways of the soul.

  • He and the Whipple boys sat for a long time in the stable doorway and speculated about the knowingness of dogs.

    The Dogs of Boytown Walter A. Dyer
  • I only have in mind the alternative that is usually presented to us, conscious ignorance or a kind of knowingness.

    The Gentle Reader Samuel McChord Crothers
  • 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 primitive Roxburgheians used to sport these toasts as a symbol of knowingness and high caste in book-hunting freemasonry.

    The Book-Hunter John Hill Burton
  • Her large prominent eyes are fixed upon Jim as she speaks with a sort of knowingness overlying their former lugubrious expression.

    Alas! Rhoda Broughton
  • Many people came up and spoke to her, at first with a certain expectation of knowingness in her, which her simplicity baffled.

    Ragged Lady, Complete William Dean Howells
British Dictionary definitions for knowingness


suggesting secret information or knowledge
wise, shrewd, or clever
deliberate; intentional
there is no knowing, one cannot tell
Derived Forms
knowingly, adverb
knowingness, 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
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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
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