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[uhn-bi-nohn] /ˌʌn bɪˈnoʊn/
unknown; unperceived; without one's knowledge (usually followed by to).
Also, unbeknownst
[uhn-bi-nohnst] /ˌʌn bɪˈnoʊnst/ (Show IPA)
Origin of unbeknown
late Middle English
1630-40; un-1 + beknown (late Middle English beknowe, past participle of beknowen); see be-, known Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for unbeknownst
  • He said he wanted to get there in plenty of time, and unbeknownst to him, he succeeded all too well.
  • One certainty is that my dean adeptly choreographed the event, unbeknownst to me until the curtain had already fallen.
  • unbeknownst to buyers of insurance, it seems, they have been buying their products from a cartel.
  • unbeknownst to many, consumer stereo products and speakers often adjust frequencies in the sound to make music more exciting.
  • unbeknownst to me, he had a twice-a-week cleaning lady.
  • unbeknownst to the researchers, oxygen had leaked into their apparatus and catalyzed the reaction.
  • Near the end he drank only from hot-spring waters that, unbeknownst to him, contained high levels of arsenic.
  • The kicker to the celebration is that unbeknownst to almost everyone, the marriage is a sham.
  • unbeknownst to the travelers the device has not been perfected, and the chances of the party's safe return are dicey.
  • But they have won something together, something unbeknownst to them all.
British Dictionary definitions for unbeknownst


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



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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