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From Middle English beknowen, biknowen, from Old English becnāwan (to know, know about), equivalent to be- +‎ know. Cognate with Old High German bichnāan (to recognise, see).



beknow (third-person singular simple present beknows, present participle beknowing, simple past beknew, past participle beknown)

  1. (transitive) To know about; have knowledge of; recognise; understand; be aware (of); be knowledgeable about.
    • 1856, Homer, Francis William Newman, The Illiad of Homer:
      At length Alkimedon, his friend and comrade, right beknew it; [...]
    • 1859, United States Congress, Congressional edition - Page 354:
      Do not think my reverend father that I am beknowing to all the affairs of the savages, there is a great deal wanting: they come to us about the affairs of their conscience, but as to the rest they consult us but little.
    • 1888, The Argosy: Volume 46:
      [...] when I went bolt into his dressing-room, not beknowing he was in it — why it is not likely, sir, that he comes again.
    • 1922, Walter De la Mare, Down-adown-derry: a book of fairy poems:
      Know I as soon as dark's dreams begin Snared is my heart in a nightmare's gin; Never from terror I out may win; So dawn and dusk I pine, peak, thin, Scarcely beknowing t'other from which—My great grandam—She was a Witch.
  2. (transitive) To acknowledge; own; confess.
    • c. 1527–1542, Thomas Wyatt, “Penitential Psalms”, in Egerton MS 2711[1], page 93r:
      For vnto the no nombre can be layd
      for to preſcrybe remiſſions off offence
      In hertes retornd, as thow thy ſellff haſt ſayd.
      And I, beknow my Fawt my neclegence [...]

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