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From the Middle English, from Old English past participle cnāwen.



known (comparative better known, superlative best known)

  1. identified as a specific type; renowned, famous.
    • He was a known pickpocket.
  2. researched, accepted, familiar.
    • 2013 July-August, Stephen P. Lownie, David M. Pelz, “Stents to Prevent Stroke”, American Scientist: 
      As we age, the major arteries of our bodies frequently become thickened with plaque, a fatty material with an oatmeal-like consistency that builds up along the inner lining of blood vessels. The reason plaque forms isn’t entirely known, but it seems to be related to high levels of cholesterol inducing an inflammatory response, which can also attract and trap more cellular debris over time.





  1. past participle of know

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known (plural knowns)

  1. In algebra, a variable or constant whose value is already determined.
  2. Any fact or situation which is well-researched or familiar.
    • 2013 August 3, “The machine of a new soul”, The Economist, volume 408, number 8847: 
      The yawning gap in neuroscientists’ understanding of their topic is in the intermediate scale of the brain’s anatomy. Science has a passable knowledge of how individual nerve cells, known as neurons, work. It also knows which visible lobes and ganglia of the brain do what. But how the neurons are organised in these lobes and ganglia remains obscure.