Definition of know in English:



  • 1with clause Be aware of through observation, inquiry, or information.

    ‘most people know that CFCs can damage the ozone layer’
    ‘I know what I'm doing’
    • ‘Governments know from experience that struggling companies typically can't be rescued with taxpayer money.’
    • ‘For youngsters struggling with issues like bullying, bereavement and family breakdown, knowing who to turn to once they get to school can be a problem.’
    • ‘We bought our house knowing that it would be tight for the first four or five years.’
    • ‘Plan your night out, including your journey home, and make sure someone knows where you are and when you will be back’
    • ‘It's good to know that the authorities are aware of the need to protect our environment.’
    • ‘However, it is worth knowing what symptoms to look for.’
    • ‘Once you know how much money you will have every week you should be able to budget accordingly.’
    • ‘I have trained hard in the past and I know what it takes in terms of time and energy.’
    • ‘Kildare went in at half time knowing that they had to retain possession for longer in order to create more meaningful chances in front of goal.’
    • ‘I had no means of knowing whether he told the truth.’
    • ‘Without that sort of information, firefighters have no way of knowing what is happening inside a building.’
    • ‘She said the bus companies knew that customers were very aware of green issues and clean fuel.’
    • ‘I decided to go down to the company and found other people in the same situation demanding to know what was going on.’
    • ‘Anyone who has travelled to Holland knows that they are more aware of human rights.’
    • ‘Her relationship with her own parents is so close that she feels saddened when she hears other parents saying they don't want to know what their children are up to.’
    • ‘I knew there was a Republican Presidential debate in Iowa today, and I'd intended to watch it.’
    • ‘It's strange but just knowing that ‘someone’ out there cares helps, even if it's someone I've never met.’
    • ‘My advice is never download any program from the internet unless you know exactly what it is.’
    • ‘Before my current job I was in the pub industry for 15 years, so I know what I am talking about.’
    • ‘He was an astute politician, instinctively knowing how to exploit popular feelings for his own advantage.’
    be aware, realize, be conscious, have knowledge, be informed, have information
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Have knowledge or information concerning.
      ‘I would write to him if I knew his address’
      no object ‘I know of one local who shot himself’
      • ‘She is now growing increasingly concerned and wants anyone who may know of his whereabouts to get in contact.’
      • ‘Let it be clear from here on in that I know absolutely nothing about how cars work.’
      • ‘It is believed she may still be in the Nottingham area although she is known to have friends in Cheshire and Bedfordshire.’
      • ‘Depression is known to be a major risk factor for heart disease.’
      • ‘Remember to let the kennels or cattery know of any particular feeding or other requirements for your pet.’
      • ‘They should map out a route first and stick to it so their parents know their whereabouts.’
      • ‘Chemical fertilizers were unavailable, for eighteenth-century scientists knew too little about plant physiology to devise the right chemical composition.’
      • ‘She knew little about her siblings, as it had been years since she had seen or spoken to any of them.’
      • ‘My brothers and I used to get letters and I probably still would if she knew my address here.’
      • ‘Enlargement of the thyroid gland is known to be associated with hormonal changes in women.’
      • ‘He feels lucky his own family knows of his sexual orientation and has accepted him and his partner.’
      • ‘Electronic tagging would be a method of ensuring their whereabouts is known at all times.’
      • ‘A spokesperson for the fire brigade said the cause of the fire was not yet known.’
      • ‘If you know of a group which deserves this recognition, make sure you nominate them.’
      • ‘The first step you should take is to simply limit the number of people who know your personal email address.’
      • ‘She is known to have had a relationship with a homeless man who was wanted by police in connection with a stolen credit card.’
      • ‘The troops know the truth better than anyone.’
      • ‘There are additional plot twists that you probably don't want to know about if you plan to see this movie.’
      • ‘Only one person knew my phone number and that was Alli.’
      • ‘Perhaps some of the faces will be familiar to our readers or maybe someone even knows the date or the year when the picture was taken.’
      have knowledge of, be aware of, be cognizant of, be informed of, be apprised of
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Be absolutely certain or sure about something.
      ‘I just knew it was something I wanted to do’
      with object ‘I knew it!’
      • ‘I knew something was wrong when we got off the plane and they were there waiting for us.’
      • ‘Fred smiled, knowing that he could trust Will not to leak the information for any reason.’
      • ‘It was too late and I knew it.’
      • ‘He would never let her go - no way; she knew that for sure - it was the only thing she was certain of.’
      • ‘We may never know with absolute certainty whether he is alive or dead.’
      • ‘Is it just his feeble attempt to ensure that I know he is the boss and the one who wears the trousers?’
      • ‘You might die next week and you might last another 50 years, nobody knows for sure.’
      • ‘A child has no fear, has no worry, no anxiety because he knows his mother is near to take care of him.’
      • ‘It is important to make sure that your child knows that you love them for who they are and what they do, not how they look.’
      • ‘We don't know that for sure till we do this clinical trial, but it is a possibility.’
      • ‘Holly smirked, knowing full well that I couldn't win this particular argument.’
      • ‘She was getting quite frail near to the end of her life and she knew it.’
      • ‘I knew with certainty that this time, he was definitely not coming back.’
      • ‘And remember, he knows you're great or he wouldn't be spending his precious time with you!’
      • ‘She cannot identify the voice but knows it does not belong to her parents.’
      • ‘When I met Daniel, I just knew he would be perfect for the role.’
      • ‘Where's the basket? I know I left it right here.’
      • ‘It hurt thinking about it, knowing that there was absolutely nothing she could do.’
      • ‘We've been friends for a long time so you know you can trust me.’
  • 2with object Have developed a relationship with (someone) through meeting and spending time with them; be familiar or friendly with.

    ‘he knew and respected Laura’
    • ‘I was not a close friend of Mo and knew her for only a brief period.’
    • ‘She helped me realize my true self worth and I've become a better artist and a better person just from knowing her.’
    • ‘My first big break was at Traffic - my friend Peter knew someone working there, and I got an interview.’
    • ‘We decided to get married last November having known each other for about 6 months.’
    • ‘I am planning to install a new kitchen and have enlisted the help of an architect I know.’
    • ‘My wife is also my best friend, and the person in this world who knows me better than any other.’
    • ‘The two of you make a lovely couple; the happiness you radiate enriches everyone who knows you.’
    • ‘If possible, share a cab with someone else that you know, especially if you are a lone woman.’
    • ‘He knows me better than anyone else and accepts me.’
    • ‘It's easier when there's nobody there who knows you or expects anything of you.’
    • ‘We have known each other for a number of years and have been married for about two.’
    • ‘She also told me after knowing me two weeks that she was NOT EVER going to sleep with me.’
    • ‘A single guy coming into a group of guys who already know each other is always going to be awkward.’
    • ‘He's quite shy but once you get to know him he's quite friendly.’
    • ‘Those of you who know me realise that I have a great respect for our nurses who do a hell of a lot for very little.’
    • ‘But in the parade most of the shop keepers knew her and some of them would even spend time chatting to her.’
    • ‘Dave was well liked and respected by all who knew him.’
    • ‘She had only known him a few weeks, and she was already spending all of her time with him.’
    • ‘I'd only known him a couple of months, but it seemed like he'd been in my life forever.’
    • ‘Appealing for the offenders to come forward, the chief superintendent said: ‘It appears Mr Greenidge was attacked by people who knew him’.’
    be acquainted with, have met, be familiar with
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Have a good command of (a subject or language).
      • ‘There is no doubt that Hoeckner has something to say, nor is there any doubt that he knows his subject.’
      • ‘The author knows his subject and provides much information and analysis not easily available elsewhere.’
      • ‘It is not possible to know a country well without knowing its language.’
      • ‘However, there's no disputing the fact that the guy knows his subject.’
      • ‘In addition, nearly every citizen of Greenland knows the Danish language.’
      • ‘One can listen to an aria in Italian or German without knowing the language and still get the message.’
      • ‘This is all very interesting, but can knowing French really help me land a job?’
      • ‘English children living in France would have to know the language - spoken and written.’
      • ‘He's been a top club manager, he's got his coaching badges, he knows the game from top to bottom.’
      • ‘Even knowing one language other than your own says so much about your attitude towards the world outside your own country.’
      • ‘This good news comes from someone who knows her subject.’
      • ‘Paulo's the Italian, so I let him pick because obviously he knows his wine better than I do.’
      • ‘Arabic is the official language of the country and English is widely known throughout Sudan.’
      • ‘If you don't know the language of the country you live in, you can't ask for what you need.’
      • ‘The gorilla is famous for knowing sign language, and she was able to sign to her handlers in California that she had a toothache.’
      • ‘Wentworth-Day was an eccentric character, but he certainly knew his subject.’
      • ‘He knows the language much better than he lets on, but he is far from fluent.’
      • ‘This was no ordinary place; it was an upmarket historic inn and its chef clearly knew his stuff.’
      • ‘He knows the subject and does a very good job of communicating this knowledge.’
      • ‘Neither of them knew any English although both had learned several other languages.’
      be familiar with, be conversant with, be acquainted with, have knowledge of, be versed in, be knowledgeable about, have mastered, have a grasp of, grasp, understand, comprehend, apprehend
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 Recognize (someone or something)
      ‘Isabel couldn't hear the words clearly but she knew the voice’
      • ‘‘I really know your face from somewhere,’ she explains.’
      • ‘Yet Sven Goran Eriksson and his assistant clearly know a player when they see one.’
      • ‘You might not immediately recognise him but you definitely know the name.’
      • ‘Given that many voters wouldn't have known his face until last week, he may have a tough time selling himself as Premier in time for the state election next year.’
      • ‘One man recognises a room by a small sign, another knows a street by the tram car numbers.’
      • ‘It was Patricia talking - I'd know her voice anywhere.’
      • ‘I have travelled extensively for the past 25 years and I know a good bar when I see one. This is not a good bar!’
      • ‘Everyone knows the name and recognises the face but not many of us have actually gone to see him.’
      • ‘I know that face, where have I seen her before?’
    3. 2.3 Be familiar or acquainted with (something)
      ‘a little restaurant she knew near Leicester Square’
      • ‘As a regular cyclist I know only too well the risks I have to face each day on my way to work.’
      • ‘The castles and heritage trails are known and savoured by visitors from near and far.’
      • ‘Oliver was in a position to know the personal preferences of generations of British royals.’
      • ‘Do you know any good bars around here?’
      • ‘I know this great little restaurant down the road, we can walk there.’
      • ‘Chris had decided she should drive, because I didn't know the city.’
      • ‘Anybody familiar with Citroen's larger cars knows the comfort of its hydraulic suspension system.’
      • ‘If any of you know any good articles or books that address this problem please let me know.’
      • ‘But Mark Waites knows the New York ad scene from personal experience.’
      • ‘The thing is, I don't like to go to a concert and not be able to sing along to the songs I know.’
      • ‘The former All Black captain knows British conditions from his time at Northampton, where he was an inspirational force.’
      • ‘Andrea told me that all her girl friends know the site, which really flattered me.’
      • ‘St. Louisans are partial to certain types of food known nowhere else on the planet.’
    4. 2.4 Have personal experience of (an emotion or situation)
      ‘a man who had known better times’
      • ‘She knew poverty, but not the type of poverty that is experienced by some families today.’
      • ‘I know what it's like to be out of work; I'm grateful for having lots of work because it doesn't always happen.’
      • ‘John himself was diagnosed with cancer some years ago and knows what a dreadful experience it can be.’
      • ‘He is a man who has known much personal sorrow in his life, and yet that has not stopped him doing what he can for others.’
      • ‘Today, he takes comfort in the fact that his eldest son knew personal happiness and fulfilment in the last few years of his life.’
      • ‘I've known hard times and good times, but writing has always been my personal salvation and I don't think I could live without it.’
      • ‘They knew plenty of personal pain and grief, but their country was inviolable and it prospered.’
      • ‘Melinda, a mother-of-three, knows first-hand how emotions can spiral out of control after giving birth.’
      experience, have experience of, go through, undergo, live through, meet, meet with, encounter, taste
      View synonyms
    5. 2.5usually be known as Regard or perceive as having a specified characteristic.
      ‘the loch is known as a dangerous area for swimming’
      • ‘He was involved in numerous projects, was an excellent teacher, and was known for his encyclopaedic knowledge.’
      • ‘Most said they knew him as a harmless, polite and friendly man who had become a familiar figure in the area.’
      • ‘Scilly is known for its flowers and each year thousands of people flock to the famous gardens on Tresco.’
      • ‘The quarter is known for its distinctive architecture and its rich history.’
      • ‘Her friends have always known her as a madcap but her latest fund raising exploits have left them astounded.’
      • ‘I hope as I go on in my career I will be known as a director who can tackle anything.’
      • ‘That was all before the area, rightly or wrongly, came to be known as a hard and dangerous place.’
      • ‘Thai cuisine is known for its distinctive mix of sweet, sour, spicy hot, and savoury flavours.’
      • ‘Lane is internationally known for his groundbreaking work in the fields of biochemistry and nutrition.’
      • ‘She kept those feelings locked away though; he was known as a lady-killer for a reason.’
      • ‘Do you want to be known as the girl that goes psycho if someone breaks up with her?’
      • ‘Emily is known for painting her subjects in their environment.’
      • ‘His friends know him as a workaholic with an impeccable sense of fairness and attention to detail.’
      • ‘He is known for keeping a low profile and spends a lot of time in the United States.’
      • ‘The area of Govan, in which the building is situated, is known for its social and spiritual deprivation.’
      • ‘The area is known as a place to buy marijuana at all hours near a subway station.’
    6. 2.6usually be known as Give (someone or something) a particular name or title.
      ‘the doctor was universally known as ‘Hubert’’
      • ‘We certainly know that he did not use his first name Benjamin and was known as Olinde Rodrigues.’
      • ‘Jerry, as he was popularly known, was a native of Cork City and had spent much of his early years in England.’
      • ‘The Lighthouse Inn reactivated its working lens in 1989, and is now known as the West Dennis Light.’
      • ‘The scheme, in which new money is used to repay older investors, is known as a Ponzi scheme.’
      • ‘He does not use his title and is known by his first name at the university.’
      • ‘Sir Norman Foster's design for the Clyde Auditorium is universally known as the Armadillo.’
      • ‘This picture is known as the wheel of life and is familiar throughout the Buddhist world.’
      • ‘Takeshima is the Japanese name for the islands known as Dokdo by South Koreans.’
      • ‘The police inquiry, known as Operation Declare, should be largely complete by the late summer.’
      • ‘She was born in New York to Greek parents and, before she got her stage name, was known as Aikaterini Hadjipateras.’
      • ‘In America, he became known by the English name given him by a teacher in grade school.’
      • ‘In their early stages of stabilization and growth, such languages are known technically as Creoles.’
      • ‘Maggie, as she was known to family and friends, was predeceased by her husband Jimmy.’
      • ‘Jimmy, as he was known locally, was a very highly respected member of the farming community.’
      • ‘I went to a very posh graduate school, affectionately known in some circles as Cambridge Community College.’
      • ‘Jim, as he was popularly known, belonged to an old and highly respected family in the district.’
      • ‘The disease, which does not affect humans and is not a food safety concern, is also known as sudden oak death.’
    7. 2.7know someone/something from Be able to distinguish one person or thing from (another)
      ‘you are convinced you know your own baby from any other in the world’
      • ‘On the weight issue, and for the benefit of those that don't know their kilos from their pounds… there are 2.25 pounds to each kilo.’
      • ‘But don't worry if this is your first foray into Greek cooking and you don't know your mezedes from your mezedakia.’
      • ‘Not knowing a pesade from a pirouette or a courbette from a capriole, I was seduced by the riders’ dashing livery of black boots, white tights, brown dress coat and gilded bicorn hat, and the ambiance of aristocratic Vienna.’
      • ‘Whether you've read the script a thousand times, or don't know your Capulets from your Montagues this show is delightful.’
      • ‘I solicited advice from a doctor friend who knows his asthma from his tennis elbow, and who has studied many branches of medicine.’
      • ‘Every child should be brought up to know right from wrong and to respect their peers and elders.’
      • ‘John used to spend lengthy periods in India as a tour guide and knows his bhuna from his balti.’
      • ‘Certainly, he is a man who knows his arias from his oboes.’
      • ‘With all the church news in the media these days, it's important to know your prelates from your pontiffs.’
      • ‘Anyway, we shall all know the answer in three weeks time but my vain hope would be that someone is put in charge of the agricultural portfolio who at least knows his sheep from his goats.’
      • ‘If you don't know your weeds from your plants, why not take some samples into your local garden centre for identification?’
      • ‘The online survey is quick and easy to fill out, and if you don't know your wallabies from your wombats there's a picture gallery to help you.’
      • ‘I studied Maths for a long time. I know my rotations from my reflections.’
      • ‘Even if you don't know your aft from a rudder, you and your kids can learn to sail at Colonna.’
      distinguish, tell apart, differentiate, tell, tell which is which, discriminate
      View synonyms
  • 3archaic with object Have sexual intercourse with (someone).

    • ‘The angel tells Mary (a woman who has known no man) that she will bear a son.’


  • and one knows it

    • Said to emphasize that someone is well aware of a fact although they might pretend otherwise.

      ‘that's nonsense and you know it’
      • ‘That's a lie and you know it!’
      • ‘They're breaking the goddamn law and they know it!’
      • ‘Oh my God, Rachael, that's not what I meant and you know it!’
  • — as we know it

    • As is familiar or customary in the present.

      ‘apocalyptic expectations, envisaging the end of the world as we know it’
      • ‘If we do nothing, the world as we know it will grind to a halt.’
      • ‘We would like to keep the fabric of the village together, but if these schemes go ahead it will spell the end of the village as we know it.’
      • ‘If some radical predictions come true, the office as we know it could become something of a rarity in years to come.’
      • ‘For it is clear that should these ambitious plans come to fruition, then what emerges will be nothing like a hospital as we know it.’
      • ‘Does the advent of downloading herald the demise of the album format as we know it - a tangible sequence of songs selected, ordered and packaged according to the intentions of the artist?’
      • ‘We are witnessing the information revolution that will change the media as we know it.’
      • ‘This level of remuneration did not result in the collapse of the book trade as we know it.’
      • ‘It's a fascinating, gritty look at the world as we know it.’
      • ‘Without such pioneers putting their work into the public domain, the Internet as we know it would not exist.’
      • ‘We are just beginning to understand the legacy of pollution and toxic waste, just beginning to realize that, while the human race as we know it might be wiped out, life will resurface, life will adapt and change.’
  • before one knows where one is (or before one knows it)

    • informal With baffling speed.

      • ‘But when you're young, time seems endless and before you know it years have sped by.’
      • ‘By following these tips, you'll find your muscles will grow bigger and stronger before you know it.’
      • ‘The school day flew by and before she knew it, Amy was walking home from the bus stop.’
      • ‘Then, before you know it, the pavilion seats were all sold out, and it was too late.’
      • ‘If they split up, he'll be on your doorstep before you know it.’
      • ‘Sure, sometimes the days crawl by, but before you know it, two months will have breezed past in the blink of an eye.’
      • ‘Get in debt with your mortgage and before you know it, your nightmares will have spiralled out of control.’
      • ‘And waiting until you're a legal adult isn't so bad, you'll be one before you know it.’
      • ‘A week passed and before they knew it, it was time for Adam to leave.’
      • ‘A report from an expert consultant could well be £400 to £600, there are solicitors fees and medical costs and before you know where you are it's up to £1,000.’
  • be in the know

    • Be aware of something known only to a few people.

      ‘he had a tip from a friend in the know: the horse was a cert’
      • ‘In today's information-based society, there are few things more infuriating than not being in the know.’
      • ‘But you have to be in the know to have access to the best-kept secret in showbiz.’
      • ‘She had learned to appear as if she were in the know even if she was utterly lost.’
      • ‘Essentially, one needs to be in the know to make the most of Berlin's nightlife.’
      • ‘For those of you not hip enough to be in the know, Nu Metal is the name of a new type of ‘extreme’ music that the kids are listening to these days.’
      • ‘I figured everyone else was in the know so I didn't want to come across as an idiot by having to ask.’
      • ‘But we don't really learn anything about how the fraud was committed, when it began, and who else was in the know apart from Mr Sullivan and Mr Myers.’
      • ‘Speak to any number of cricketing pundits who claim to be in the know, and they will all maintain that it was Ian Chappell, and his team of the 1970s, who started the dreadful business of sledging.’
      • ‘Canadian fans have been in the know about this band for years, but it's time for us to learn how to share.’
      • ‘Well, I used to pride myself as being in the know but I have heard nothing about this idea.’
  • be not to know

    • Have no way of being aware of.

      ‘you weren't to know he was about to die’
      • ‘He was not to know it at the time, but the petro-chemical industry was to be his future.’
      • ‘In both cases the guns were not real, and not intended for criminal use, but the officers were not to know that.’
      • ‘Although the public was not to know it until later, the invasion was due to take place on June 5 but just as with any other event in Britain the weather played a part.’
      • ‘However, the British were not to know just how weak he was.’
      • ‘She was not to know what leaving would do to my father.’
      • ‘They were not to know that two years later, a similar fate would be visited upon them.’
      • ‘As things transpired they wouldn't have made it to the last eight even had they beaten Donegal but they were not to know it at the time.’
      • ‘They were not to know that Friday would bring another day of dramatic action.’
      • ‘Mr Newton was not to know that the builder on his doorstep had a string of convictions for deception and misleading customers.’
      • ‘In fact the seals and signature were forgeries, but Mr Catt was not to know that for many months.’
  • don't I know it!

    • informal Used as an expression of rueful assent or agreement.

      • ‘‘You know how kids tease other kids with unusual names.’ ‘Oh, don't I know it! Try having to grow up with the name Jasper!’’
      • ‘‘He's not the most forgiving person.’ Ryan laughed bitterly. ‘God, don't I know it.’’
  • don't you know

    • dated, informal Used to emphasize what one has just said or is about to say.

      ‘I was, don't you know, a great motoring enthusiast in those days’
      • ‘Humidity reeks havoc with ones hair, don't you know.’
      • ‘Now Petey's a bishop himself, don't you know.’
      • ‘Toronto-bashing is politically correct, don't you know, the Rest of Canada's national sport - second only to hockey - and the glue that keeps this country together.’
      • ‘Top it all off with a hat - either a raffia sunshade, a fedora, a trilby or even a Stetson - they're the new sunglasses, don't you know.’
      • ‘Used to be in the military myself, but it takes all kinds, don't you know?’
  • for all someone knows

    • Used to express the limited scope or extent of one's information.

      ‘she could be dead for all I know’
      • ‘But for all Dirk knows, you could be out gallivanting.’
      • ‘I have been allowed to appeal at the last minute, but not on a clearly defined basis - for all I know, they might just decide my appeal can't even be considered.’
      • ‘No-one asked her any questions, no-one searched her. She could have been a heroin mule or a gun smuggler for all anyone knew.’
      • ‘In the refrigerator all she finds are some dried apples and celery and assorted condiments that could have been there since her last visit for all Sandra knows.’
      • ‘There are, apparently, other branches in Miami and London and, for all I know, there may soon be one in Glasgow.’
  • God (or goodness or heaven) knows

    • 1Used to emphasize that one does not know something.

      ‘God knows what else they might find’
      • ‘The school only has one classroom, and it only has 10 desks in it, so heaven knows where the new kids are going to fit.’
      • ‘As for the houses which used to be on Clevelly Close, heaven knows how much they would be worth now, both in monetary terms and to the area's self-esteem.’
      • ‘And heaven knows what the other tenants there must think.’
      • ‘If it's this bad now, heaven knows what kind of problems there will be when the Commonwealth Games begins and thousands of people will be coming into the area.’
      • ‘If I wasn't there, God knows what that guy would try to do to you!’
      • ‘It's been so cold that I have had to keep boiling the kettle, so heaven knows how large my next electricity bill is going to be.’
      • ‘And I really cannot be bothered to do any of the housework I've been putting off since, well, heaven knows when.’
      • ‘Being told that there were 80,000 people in the stadium and goodness knows how many millions watching across the world gave you a real sense of responsibility.’
      • ‘He lived on a diet of heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, LSD and heaven knows what else, washed down with industrial quantities of Jack Daniels.’
      • ‘But if it wasn't for Jilly heaven knows what would have happened to me.’
    • 2Used to emphasize the truth of a statement.

      ‘goodness knows, I haven't been perfect’
      • ‘He's got great managerial experience, and goodness knows we need that within the intelligence community.’
      • ‘‘If it was like that for me, heaven knows, it must have been worse for others’, Mr Cook said.’
      • ‘It's no use yelling at her to shut up. God knows I've tried.’
      • ‘It is easy to be derisory about politics in Ireland, and, heaven knows, there is much to be derisory about.’
      • ‘I haven't read any of this year's shortlist, and goodness knows I've got enough books to read.’
      • ‘Whatever you think of their relationship, and heaven knows it hasn't been an easy one, their love has endured.’
      • ‘There are online journals that are older than mine and, heaven knows, there are better ones.’
      • ‘God knows we have few enough women in this industry as it is and adverts like this aren't going to help us any.’
      • ‘Because, heaven knows, some folks are having kids for the wrong reasons.’
      • ‘There is no more dispiriting a sight for me than unfulfilled talent and goodness knows Scottish football is littered with players who underachieved.’
  • have been known to do something

    • Have occasionally in the past done something.

      ‘the fans have been known to rain bottles, cans, and seats on players who displease them’
      • ‘They feed on smaller birds and rodents but have been known to go for cats and small dogs as well.’
      • ‘What I managed to avoid doing was panic and start talking really fast as I have been known to do in the past.’
      • ‘Don't get me wrong I love a good drink and am a social smoker and in the past have been known to smoke cannabis.’
      • ‘They can be quite vicious and have been known to attack humans if threatened.’
      • ‘Even I have been known to go to the fair (though usually I have to be dragged there by someone).’
      • ‘I generally wear comfortable clothes for DJ-ing, although I have been known to turn up for gigs in a suit.’
      • ‘In terms of exercise, I do a lot of walking and have been known to go for a run.’
      • ‘I like puzzles and have been known to buy the occasional puzzle magazine.’
      • ‘She has been known to make the occasional left-wing statement, and is cosy with Bill Clinton.’
      • ‘Even the best of our past leaders have been known to falter on this very question.’
  • I know

    • 1I agree.

      ‘‘It's not the same without Rosie.’ ‘I know.’’
      • ‘‘She'll be really annoyed if you sneak off to go drinking with us at some bar. Especially without her.’ ‘I know.’’
    • 2I have a new idea or suggestion.

      ‘I know what, let's do it now’
      • ‘I know what, why don't we grab a little bite downstairs and then I'll take you by the house so you can meet the guys.’
      • ‘I know what! I'll fix strawberries just the way you like them! What do you say to that?’
  • know best

    • Have better knowledge or more appropriate skills.

      ‘a mother always knows best where her children are concerned’
      • ‘It's not only patients who feel that the days when doctors always knew best are over.’
      • ‘IT is not always the case that the doctor knows best.’
      • ‘When you hear the phrase ‘the customer always knows best,’ do you let out a hollow laugh?’
      • ‘The parade of recent corporate scandals has further strained the notion that directors always know best.’
      • ‘On this occasion, however he seems to imply that he knows best.’
      • ‘The left have always believed that governments know best.’
      • ‘Scottish Natural Heritage has come under fire for dictatorial, arrogant attitudes, ignoring the needs and wishes of landowners, and assuming it knows best.’
      • ‘This philosophy proceeded on two false premises - it was better for children to be ‘seen and not heard’ and that father or mother - generally father - knew best.’
      • ‘Thankfully, mums always know best and by the age of 13 Susie was gradually able to start playing sport again.’
      • ‘I was put on Prozac and the doc suggested counseling, which I never took - in retrospect maybe I should have but I thought I knew best, as always.’
  • know better than

    • Be wise or polite enough to avoid doing a particular thing.

      ‘you ought to know better than to ask that’
      • ‘The 55-year-old veteran of the international scene knows better than to expect instant success.’
      • ‘He knows better than to ask me if I've had a nice day when I get home from work or whether the children have been good while he's been out.’
      • ‘Intelligent women know better than to fall for such cleverly camouflaged spiel.’
      • ‘Experienced political campaigners know better than to argue with a tough minded person like yourself.’
      • ‘It would be easy to dismiss Elizabeth as a weak woman who should know better than to put up with her husband's bullying and violence.’
      • ‘Most seasoned travellers know better than to judge a country by its approach to visa applications.’
      • ‘I should know better than to mix alcohol, it's always a bit of a mistake.’
      • ‘Mr Bradbury said people should know better than to start any sort of fire within a forest, even if they thought it was only an old tree trunk.’
      • ‘You should know better than to put thoughts and criticism in people's minds.’
      • ‘He, of all people should know better than to park illegally in a disabled space and deserves no sympathy whatsoever.’
  • know someone by sight

    • Recognize someone by their appearance without knowing their name or being so well acquainted as to talk to them.

      • ‘I knew him by sight, for he went to the same school as me but I had never spoken to him nor did I know his name.’
      • ‘Naturally I knew her by sight, and had heard her speak, a long time before I came to know her properly.’
      • ‘We all knew them by sight and they seemed a truly lovely family.’
      • ‘But she said she had never spoken to him before and only knew him by sight.’
      • ‘I had known his brother very well at junior school and I knew Freddie by sight.’
      • ‘But although the people living and working locally knew him by sight, they noticed he was never much seen out of his flat, except to buy essentials from the next-door newsagents.’
      • ‘The woman and her family moved here from France sometime earlier this year, I didn't know her name but I knew her by sight.’
      • ‘We knew very little about each other; he knew me by reputation, and I knew him by sight.’
      • ‘Leo, the manager of the restaurant, knew me by sight and winked when he saw me walk in on Logan's arm.’
      • ‘I hadn't had any call to work with her department since starting and knew her by sight and reputation only.’
      recognize, single out, pick out, spot, point out, pinpoint, pin down, put one's finger on, put a name to, name, place, know, know again, know by sight, discern, distinguish, discover, find, locate
      View synonyms
  • know different (or otherwise)

    • Be aware of information or evidence to the contrary.

      • ‘‘The council might say there are not too many accidents at the junction but we live there and know different,’ he said.’
      • ‘If you didn't know otherwise, it would be perfectly reasonable to assume the school in question would be open to all, especially thanks to the use of the friendly words ‘junior school’.’
      • ‘Until I know otherwise I'll be starting pre-season training at Fulham.’
      • ‘I thought he was a fair driver, but now I know different.’
      • ‘To the outside world he looked like a sweet old man - but his neighbours knew otherwise.’
      • ‘We may smile now at our erstwhile belief that the sun circles the earth rather than the other way round, or that the earth is flat, but the only reason we know different is that a scientific genius dispelled our illusions.’
      • ‘Tentatively, therefore, it could be a new ‘course record’ - unless anyone knows different.’
      • ‘You may say you love him, but your heart knows otherwise.’
      • ‘My money's on Celtic, unless anyone knows different?’
      • ‘Geologists once thought that collapsing volcanoes were rare in Earth's history; now they know otherwise.’
  • know something for a fact

    • Be aware of something that is irrefutable or beyond doubt.

      ‘I know for a fact that he can't speak a word of Japanese’
      • ‘In an interview for BBC radio a couple of years ago, he told the interviewer that he'd never logged on to the Internet, but I know for a fact he checks his email.’
      • ‘If you know the answer for a fact, please get in touch.’
      • ‘She knew for a fact her sister had never loved William.’
      • ‘I've heard it said many times, and been long enough on this earth to know it for a fact, that marriage, as a rule, changes women more than men.’
      • ‘I know for a fact that his mother and father didn't have any siblings, so he doesn't have any cousins.’
  • know someone in the biblical sense

    • humorous, informal Have sexual intercourse with someone.

      • ‘Well I never knew her in the biblical sense, we just bumped into each other at some party and you know how it goes.’
      • ‘I didn't know him from Adam, though it might have been nice to know him in the biblical sense, ha ha.’
      • ‘‘I take it you know her?’ Holly asked. ‘Yes,’ Pete said, ‘And, because I know you're curious, yes, I knew her in the biblical sense as well.’’
  • know no bounds

    • Have no limits.

      ‘their courage knows no bounds’
      • ‘The band's propensity for hedonism knows no bounds.’
      • ‘Clearly, the ego of this deluded man knows no bounds.’
      • ‘Back in London, my enthusiasm for salsa now knows no bounds.’
      • ‘One could say their generosity knows no bounds.’
      • ‘Peter's dedication to the sport knows no bounds and his love of St. Anne's B.C. is legendary.’
      • ‘It was a testament to love that knows no bounds that my wife stuck with me for the three years we lived there.’
      • ‘A respected writer and academic, he drops names like confetti, judges everyone, hates to lose at anything and has an arrogance that knows no bounds.’
      • ‘Her death came at the peak of a career as an innovator whose passion for dance knew no bounds.’
      • ‘Similarly, man's imagination has no limits and his inventiveness knows no bounds.’
      • ‘The generosity of Swindon folk knows no bounds.’
  • know one's own mind

    • Be decisive and certain.

      • ‘You think I'm not old enough to know my own mind?’
      • ‘She knows her own mind and speaks it without constraint.’
      • ‘They liked a king who ruled with confidence, and knew his own mind.’
      • ‘I know many of you think it is a waste of time but I think it will be one of the best days of our lives.’
      • ‘Although his reputation is that of a man who knew and knows his own mind, he was also a team player, a characteristic which is essential for success in intelligence.’
      • ‘It's been an eye-opener for the whole family, but she's 20 years old, she knows her own mind and she can make her own decisions.’
      • ‘In Russia he also has a reputation as a coach who knows his own mind and is not afraid to speak it, something which has not always pleased his club presidents.’
      • ‘We like Ken, he knows his own mind and never panders to the media or the public.’
      • ‘The last thing I need is a boyfriend who doesn't know his own mind.’
      • ‘She admonished him gently with the news that she was a grown woman and knew her own mind.’
      • ‘The ‘adult’ approach is for the parent to deal with the child as a mature individual capable of knowing their own mind.’
  • know one's way around (or about)

    • Be familiar with (an area, procedure, or subject).

      • ‘Presumably Davies knows his way around the Hollywood A-list well enough.’
      • ‘The plant was filled with workers who barely knew their way around, let alone grasped the dangers they faced.’
      • ‘Cottrell has been a coach since 1981, so he knows his way around the league.’
      • ‘Although he is a relative newcomer to the lobbying game, Livingston obviously knows his way around the halls of Congress and how to pitch for a client.’
  • know the ropes

    • Have experience of the appropriate procedures.

      • ‘Needless to say, I could use some direction and encouragement from someone who knows the ropes.’
      • ‘He had minimal playing experience in the majors, but he has been in baseball since the '70s and knows the ropes.’
      • ‘He has been in the limelight for six years now and knows the ropes.’
      • ‘He had traveled a lot overseas on business and kind of knew the ropes… but we were too tired to care.’
      • ‘They are welcomed, encouraged and helped by the friendly staff and older members who already know the ropes.’
      • ‘I have been to Thailand a few times, so I know the ropes, or at least I think I do.’
      • ‘Once you know the ropes, blogging is easy - and fun.’
      • ‘But having people there from home who knew the ropes made it a lot easier for me.’
      • ‘The customs officials and immigration officers know the ropes and take you through every step - this is their job and they do it well.’
      • ‘One of the most efficient and safest ways to see the most sights in the least amount of time is with a tour guide who knows the ropes.’
  • know what one likes

    • Have fixed or definite tastes, without necessarily having the knowledge or informed opinion to support them.

      ‘I don't understand all this modern poetry at all, but I know what I like’
      • ‘I don't feel qualified to comment as a music critic, but I know what I like, and I enjoyed many of the musical selections.’
      • ‘I don't know a damn thing about photography, but I know what I like.’
  • know what's what

    • informal Be experienced and competent in a particular area.

      • ‘I think everyone can be their own researcher now really; you can be in charge of your own affairs and know what's what.’
      • ‘Yes, you guessed it - the subject is the upcoming election, and the political scientists think they know what's what.’
      • ‘You may not make much money, but after six months of dedicated effort you should have a winning portfolio that will convince your prospective employer that you know what's what and can do the job.’
      • ‘He's a good boy and old enough to know what's what out there.’
      • ‘Peritz, in truth, is an inherently humble guy who knows what's what.’
      • ‘You don't need a university education to understand this world and to know what's what.’
      • ‘You think you've seen life, think you know what's what, but you haven't, and you don't.’
      • ‘Hire a crew of people who have put on such shows before, and who know what's what.’
      • ‘The Berlin film audience, however, immediately erupted into spontaneous applause, proving that we 21 st-century folk know what's what.’
      • ‘Ads nowadays, especially on TV, portray blokes as stupid and disorganised, while women always know what's what.’
  • know who's who

    • Be aware of the identity and status of each person.

      • ‘I loved my job and I was said to be very good at what I did, but I wasn't very good at that whole ‘knowing who's who in the corporate world’ thing.’
      • ‘It benefits every investor to know who's who behind that set of magnificent oak doors, as each of the employees in a securities firm affects the real returns of one's investment portfolio.’
      • ‘Ensure that they know who's who and can identify company structure, individual roles and the existing communicative systems in use as soon as possible.’
      • ‘This invaluable data base will be expanded and updated, helping us - and the media - know who's who in the corporate-scientific complex.’
      • ‘The first thing we did when we got here was go around getting to know who's who before asking any questions.’
      • ‘Certainly, a reader who knows who's who in this story will appreciate the humor and ingenuity considerably more.’
      • ‘Now I like to think I know who's who, but I have to admit to having to ask who our ‘basket case’ was this month.’
      • ‘We're on a first-name basis with a lot of people and we know who's who in the community.’
      • ‘Writing about the public consultation over plans for the introduction of non-medically qualified surgical care practitioners, Mr Phillips says it is important that patients know who's who.’
  • let it be (or make something) known

    • Ensure that people are informed about something, especially via a third party.

      with clause ‘the Minister let it be known that he was not seeking reappointment’
      • ‘He said growers were passionate about the issue, and would make their feelings known through the ballot box.’
      • ‘He let it be known that he would address the workers' concerns, and on that basis the union officials called off the strike.’
      • ‘Objectors have two months to make their views known before the proposals go before the executive board in July for ratification.’
      • ‘Early last week, the board of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra let it be known that Alsop was to be the next music director.’
      • ‘Ireland has operated a voluntary reporting system since 1985, but there is no statutory requirement on doctors to make cases known to public health authorities.’
      • ‘Anyone with information about any violent attacks or murders should make it known to the Police immediately.’
      • ‘Smith let it be known that he would resign as Labour leader unless he got the support of conference for his motion.’
      • ‘It is essential that any persons with any medical and/or related dietary requirements make them known to us well before departure.’
      • ‘Once the manufacturer gets the results, it can choose whether to make the information known to the public.’
      • ‘An advanced directive is a legal document detailing your wishes in the event you are unable to make them known yourself.’
      disclose, reveal, divulge, tell, impart, communicate, pass on, vouchsafe, unfold
      View synonyms
  • not know from nothing

    • informal Be totally ignorant.

      ‘she shakes her head while you talk, as if to say you don't know from nothing’
      • ‘You don't know from nothing about girls, do you?’
      • ‘He knew from nothing about playing a piano, but his daughter did and from what she'd told him Steinway was one of the premier piano makers in the world.’
  • not know the first thing about

    • Have not the slightest idea about (something)

      ‘he's an engineer, doesn't know the first thing about literature’
      • ‘I don't know the first thing about designer clothes.’
      • ‘You know a year ago you didn't know the first thing about soccer.’
      • ‘Most kids his age don't know the first thing about politics.’
      • ‘That was easy for me - I don't know the first thing about football.’
      • ‘It seems to me you don't know the first thing about birds.’
      • ‘I didn't know the first thing about dancing, and I think Julius was equally uneducated.’
      • ‘I don't know the first thing about firearms; I have never even held a gun.’
      • ‘But even so, she didn't know the first thing about first aid and had no way of helping him with the injury.’
      • ‘Would you buy a BMW from a sales person who didn't know the first thing about the car?’
      • ‘I don't know the first thing about delivering a baby.’
  • not know that

    • informal Used to express one's doubts about one's ability to do something.

      ‘I don't know that I can sum up my meaning on paper’
      • ‘I don't know that there's anything you can do; I think you've got to leave it up to him.’
      • ‘I don't know that I could go back to having a full-time job.’
      • ‘I don't know that I can be any more specific than that because there are court proceedings pending.’
  • not know what hit one

    • Be very shocked or surprised by a sudden attack or event.

      • ‘‘I joined in 1964, and was sent to Vietnam as a pay clerk in 1966, and I didn't know what hit me: it was surreal,’ Maj Blair said.’
      • ‘Friday night at Sam's Town Casino, five miles south of the Las Vegas strip: The unsuspecting locals didn't know what hit them.’
      • ‘Quite often what happens is that young men are relatively unaware of their emotions until something goes wrong and then very often they don't know what hit them.’
      • ‘Michigan Democrat Carl Levin still doesn't know what hit him.’
      • ‘Carnacon didn't know what hit them as they tried desperately to protect their goal from a barrage of attacks.’
      • ‘We really didn't know what hit us in England and it wasn't much better last week.’
      • ‘The game got of to a sweltering pace with Camloch scoring 1-4 with no response; it was as if Lisnaskea didn't know what hit them.’
      • ‘But we got the heat turned up now, the cops, they don't know what hit them.’
      • ‘Ten years ago, her fellow competitors in the Miss St Lucia pageant didn't know what hit them when Yasmine soared to the top, securing first place.’
      • ‘I don't know what hit me but I'm getting sleepy, very sleepy.’
  • not know what to do with oneself

    • Be at a loss as to know what to do, typically through boredom, embarrassment, or anxiety.

      • ‘We are absolutely devastated, we just don't know what to do with ourselves.’
      • ‘The next minute he's miserable, depressed, lonely, doesn't know what to do with himself.’
      • ‘We do meet older people whose children have gone to university and they don't know what to do with themselves.’
      • ‘She had been up since nine and didn't know what to do with herself.’
      • ‘For a couple of days after I got home, I didn't know what to do with myself.’
      • ‘I didn't know what to do with myself, so I just laid down, hugged myself, and started crying.’
      • ‘The university grounds get so quiet, he almost doesn't know what to do with himself.’
      • ‘It had become such a habit that I almost don't know what to do with myself now…’
      • ‘I don't know what to do with myself when I'm not training and stuff.’
      • ‘She was so happy she didn't know what to do with herself.’
  • not know where (or which way) to look

    • Feel great embarrassment and not know how to react.

      • ‘The nave cracked up, the priest didn't know where to look, and Granny was mortified.’
      • ‘‘Are you pregnant?’ Ruthy didn't know where to look. ‘You're pregnant, right?’’
      • ‘It was embarrassing for us. We didn't know where to look. All the family were getting really frustrated that she hadn't shown up.’
  • not want to know

    • informal Refuse to react or take notice.

      ‘they just didn't want to know when I gave my side of the story’
      • ‘He added: ‘I have tried to market it as a going concern but the big boys just don't want to know.’’
      • ‘When confronted with food concerns, from pesticide residues to the environmental damage wreaked by salmon farming, the government doesn't want to know.’
      • ‘While all these wannabes are crying out for TV exposure, the truth is the public don't want to know.’
      • ‘I am responsible for him but I am told nothing can be done without his agreement, and he doesn't want to know.’
      • ‘Rebecca used to be full of enthusiasm but now she doesn't want to know.’
      • ‘They pay lip-service to the green agenda, but when it comes to taking measures that might lose votes, they don't want to know.’
      • ‘Management may be good at hitting targets, doing cash-flow levels, but they are rubbish at recognising stress in staff and quite often they don't want to know.’
      • ‘Unless you're awfully special, the market doesn't want to know.’
      • ‘Because we are off the beaten track, the council doesn't want to know.’
      • ‘My son shouldn't have to put up with that sort of abuse, but when I talk to the council about it, they don't want to know.’
  • what does — know?

    • informal Used to indicate that someone knows nothing about the subject in question.

      ‘what does he know about football, anyway?’
      • ‘The video seems odd to me, but it's probably the first rock video I've seen in about eight years, so what do I know?’
      • ‘He lives with his wife and daughter in a $1.9 million home in Manhattan, what does he know about the minimum wage?’
  • what do you know (about that)?

    • informal Used as an expression of surprise.

      • ‘So now it's 9 p.m. and I've turned back to the Niners game and - what do you know?’
      • ‘We stood outside Fenway Park for a bit, while the Boston Red Sox were playing the Anaheim Angels - and what do you know - the Sox went on to win the World Series.’
      • ‘Well what do you know, she does listen to me once in a while.’
      • ‘I follow Suki and Keith's plans and, what do you know, after the first month, I've lost 6 pounds!’
      • ‘Well, what do you know; he is good for something besides eating and sleeping!’
      • ‘And what do you know, this evening my uncle turned up.’
      • ‘Hey, what do you know, it's Grand Prix weekend in Montreal!’
      • ‘The shares may be marooned at 22p but, what do you know, the good news just keeps on coming.’
      • ‘But what do you know - it's a fine album, creatively mixed and structured, full of strong playing and rhythms that actually feel good.’
      • ‘I glanced at the door just as it opened, and what do you know?’
  • wouldn't you like to know?

    • informal Used to express one's intention to keep something secret despite another's curiosity.

      ‘‘You're loaded, aren't you, Bella?’ ‘Wouldn't you like to know?’’
      • ‘‘How did he get out?’ Aubrey smirked. ‘Wouldn't you like to know?’’
      • ‘‘Where are you going?’ asked Pete. ‘Wouldn't you like to know?’ she said, heading for the door.’
  • you know

    • 1informal Used to indicate that what is being referred to is known to or understood by the listener.

      ‘when in Rome, you know’
      1. 1.1Used as a filler in conversation.
        ‘oh well, you know, I was wondering if you had any jobs for me’
        • ‘Gosh, you know, that was one of the movies that I really, really wanted to do.’
        • ‘Sometimes it's just really hard to tell people, you know, what you're feeling and stuff.’
        • ‘So it's been like a new music adventure for me now, you know, like starting all over again.’
        • ‘I fear it may take me some time to get back into, you know, writing, so bear with me.’
        • ‘There has to be a lot of open floor, a lot of room for people to jump up and dance, you know?’
  • you know something (or what)?

    • informal Used to indicate that one is going to say something interesting or surprising.

      ‘You know what? I believed her’
      • ‘People might be accepting but that means absolutely nothing because you know what? They're all cowards.’
      • ‘But you know something, my job is to uphold the laws of the state.’
      • ‘And you know something, I don't care because substance abuse is substance abuse.’
      • ‘Do you know something, his Girl Friday, who organises his race plans, is running in this year's London marathon.’
      • ‘And do you know what, we just happened to get a close up shot of your man later in the game.’
      • ‘And you know something, I called her the next morning and we patched the whole thing up.’
      • ‘Well, you know something, the strangest thing is that I never went to counseling for 20 years after Adam.’
      • ‘And you know something, so far, it's worked in I'd say seven different relationships.’
      • ‘They pulled me, poked me, sucked blood out of me, pumped drugs into me, and you know what? They still couldn't find anything wrong with me.’
      • ‘And do you know something: there was not one bawdy Brit or a battered pair of trainers anywhere in sight!’
  • you never know

    • informal You can never be certain.

      • ‘So pick a name at random, and you never know, you might just hit on the right one.’
      • ‘And you never know, you might even find your game improves.’
      • ‘Of course, you never know, there might be an ambitious young politician who wants to run this campaign.’
      • ‘This is probably the best fun I am going to have all Christmas, but you never know.’
      • ‘Maybe someone will smuggle me a contraband glass of wine, you never know.’
      • ‘If the traders had to clear away their own rubbish, you never know, they may even make less mess during the day.’
      • ‘I know, at 42, some might consider me a bit long in the tooth by then, but you never know.’
      • ‘Sunday's forecast is not good, and this is the worst way to end a series, but with three days left you never know.’
      • ‘I like to think that I would have strength to do the right thing, but you never know, do you?’
      • ‘Having said that I doubt very much whether that will be the case, but you never know.’


Old English cnāwan (earlier gecnāwan) ‘recognize, identify’, of Germanic origin; from an Indo-European root shared by Latin ( g)noscere, Greek gignōskein, also by can and ken.