- (Received Pronunciation, General American) IPA(key): /ˈkɛnɪŋ/
Audio (UK) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɛnɪŋ
- Hyphenation: ken‧ning
From Middle English kenning, kening (“instruction, teaching; experience, knowledge; sight, view”), from kennen (“to make known, point out, reveal; to direct, instruct, teach; to know, perceive”) + -ing. Kennen is derived from Old English cennan (“to make known, declare”), from Proto-Germanic *kannijaną (“to make known”), the causative form of *kunnaną (“to know, be familiar with, recognize; to be able to, know how”), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵneh₃- (“to know”). Compare Danish kending (“acquaintance”), and see further at ken.
kenning (plural kennings)
- (obsolete) Sight, view; specifically a distant view at sea.
- 1624, Richard Grenville, “Sir Richard Grenuills Voyage to Virginia, for Sir Walter Raleigh. 1585.”, in John Smith, The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles: […], London: […] I[ohn] D[awson] and I[ohn] H[aviland] for Michael Sparkes, OCLC 1049014009, book 1; reprinted in The Generall Historie of Virginia, [...] (Bibliotheca Americana), Cleveland, Oh.: The World Publishing Company, 1966, OCLC 633956660, page 5:
- Touching the moſt remarkeable things of the Country and our proceeding from the 17 of Auguſt 1585. till the 18. of Iune 1586. we made Roanoack our habitation. The vtmoſt of our diſcouery Southward was Secotan as we eſteemed 80. leagues from Roanoacke. The paſſage from thence was thought a broad ſound within the maine, being without kenning of land, yet full of flats and ſhoulds that our Pinnaſſe could not paſſe, […]
- 1733, Francis Bacon; Peter Shaw, compiler, “XXIX. To the King; Presenting the History of Henry VII. and a Proposal for a New Digest of the Laws of England.”, in The Philosophical Works of Francis Bacon, Baron of Verulam, Viscount St. Albans, and Lord High-Chancellor of England; Methodized, and Made English, from the Originals. With Occasional Notes, to Explain what is Obscure; and Shew how Far the Several Plans of the Author, for the Advancement of All the Parts of Knowledge, have been Executed to the Present Time. In Three Volumes, volume I, London: Printed for J. J. and P. Knapton [et al.], OCLC 1000819545, supplement V (Select Letters upon Various Occasions: Relating to the Author’s Life and Writings), section II (Letters Relating to the Author’s Writings), page 504:
- And becauſe in the beginning of my Trouble, when in the midſt of the Tempeſt, I had a kenning of the Harbour, which I hope now by your Majeſty's Favour I am entring into; I made a tender to your Majeſty of two Works, a Hiſtory of England, and a Digeſt of your Laws: as I have performed a Part of the one; ſo I have herewith ſent your Majeſty, by way of an Epiſtle, a New Offer of the other.
- 1827, [Walter Scott], chapter XIV, in Chronicles of the Canongate; […], volume I (The Two Drovers), Edinburgh: […] [Ballantyne and Co.] for Cadell and Co.; London: Simpkin and Marshall, OCLC 230674472, pages 321–322:
- "Saul of my pody, put you are wrang there, my friend," answered Robin, with composure; "it is your fat Englishmen that eat up our Scots cattle, puir things." / "I wish there was a summat to eat up their drovers," said another; "a plain Englishman canna make bread without a kenning of them."
- (obsolete) The range or extent of vision, especially at sea; (by extension) a marine measure of approximately twenty miles.
- 1711, John Leland, Thomas Hearne, editor, The Itinerary of John Leland the Antiquary. [...] Publish’d from the Original MS. in the Bodleian Library by Thomas Hearne M.A. To which is Added Antoninus’s Itinerary through Britain, with Various Readings and Dr. Robert Talbot’s Annotations upon It, volume III, Oxford: Printed at the Theater for the publisher, OCLC 931133609, page 7:
- 1793 September, “Art. XII. The Plays and Poems of William Shakspeare; Collated Verbatim with the Most Authentic Copies, and Revised: [...] By Edmund Malone. Crown 8vo. 10 Vols. about 600 Pages in each. The First Volume Divided into Two. 3l. 17s. Boards. Cadell, &c. 1790. [book review]”, in The Monthly Review; or, Literary Journal, Enlarged, volume XII, London: Printed for R[alph] Griffiths; and sold by T[homas] Becket, in Pall Mall, published 1794, OCLC 901376714, footnote, page 56:
- The obſcure text, of which the light is only to be ſeen by groping our way through "antres vaſt," and at times through "deſarts idle" of earth beneath, is frequently ſo highly elevated in the page, that it is barely entitled to [John] Milton's appellation of darkneſs viſible; and now and then it ſoars even above this, mounting (to uſe an old phraſe,) beyond a kenning.
- 1876, “Jus Maritimum Lubecense, in Usus Osterlingorum Descriptum, Anno 1299 = Code of Maritime Law, Drawn Up at Lubeck for the Use of the Osterlings, A.D. 1299”, in Travers Twiss, editor, Momenta Juridica. The Black Book of the Admiralty. Appendix.—Part IV. [...] Published by the Authority of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury, under the Direction of the Master of the Rolls (Rerum Britannicarum Medii Ævi Scriptores, or Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland during the Middle Ages), volume IV, London: Longman & Co., Paternoster Row; Trübner & Co., Ludgate Hill; [...], OCLC 492928582, paragraph XVIII, page 369:
- If a person hires a ship and loads her or not entirely, and wishes to unload her, before she sets sail, he shall pay half the ship’s freight. But if the ship has sailed a kenning’s way seawards, he shall pay the shipmaster his full freight. [Footnote: kenning […] This phrase is applied in the Rutter of the Sea to signify the distance from one headland to another in sight. Vol. I., p. 115.]
- As little as one can discriminate or recognize; a small portion, a little.
- put in a kenning of salt
- (sight, view; range of vision): ken (noun)
From ken (“to beget, bring forth”), from Middle English kennen (“to beget, conceive (offspring); to give birth to”), from Old English cennan, gecennan (“to beget (offspring); to give birth to; to bring forth, produce”); see further at etymology 1.
kenning (plural kennings)
- (zoology, obsolete, rare) A chalaza or tread of an egg (a spiral band attaching the yolk of the egg to the eggshell); a cicatricula.
kenning (plural kennings)
- (poetry) A metaphorical compound or phrase, used especially in Germanic poetry (Old English or Old Norse) whereby a simple thing is described in an allusive way.
- The slang 'landwhale' as a way to refer to an obese person is an example of a kenning.
- 1867–1868, George Stephens, “Bracteates”, in The Old-Northern Runic Monuments of Scandinavia and England, Now First Collected and Deciphered, volume II, London: John Russell Smith; Copenhagen: Michaelsen and Tillge; printed by H. H. Thiele, OCLC 460631915, pages 509–510:
- [A]s we are all aware, the Skalds used all sorts of kennings from Jewels, Gold, Silver, &c., to betoken Women, &c. Gold is called "The Sea's Blink (Blik)", and so on, and a female is "Gold's Mistress", "The Goddess of the Golden Jewel", and so forth.
- 1887 January, Francis B. Gummere, “Wilhelm Bode: Die Kenningar in der angelsächsen Dichtung. Mit Ausblicken auf andere Litteraturen. Darmstadt und Leipzig, 1886. [Strasburg Dissertation].”, in A. Marshall Elliott, editor, Modern Language Notes, volume II, number 1, Baltimore, Md.: [Johns Hopkins Press], ISSN 0026-7910, OCLC 714078925, column 36:
- I venture to say that a close study of the style of Piers Plowman would thoroughly dispose of alliteration as chief factor in the kenning-process.
- 2006, Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, Turnhout, Antwerp, Belgium: Brepols, OCLC 180010776, page 149:
- If we now move to the second helmingr, Kock tries to unscramble the two kenningar […], but this is over-zealous, since there are ample parallels for such braiding of kenning elements. Finnbogi interprets the kenning 'ǫrbeiðanda bǫðvar jǫkla' contextually, to mean 'the one who provoked the warrior into drawing his sword' (Orkneyinga saga, 202).
- 2007, Andrew Wawn with Graham Johnson and John Walter, editors, Constructing Nations, Reconstructing Myth: Essays in Honour of T. A. Shippey (Making in the Middle Ages; 9), Turnhout, Antwerp, Belgium: Brepols, →ISBN, page 172:
- The original also makes frequent use of the circumlocutory type of poetic expression known as the kenning, which consists (in its simplest form) of a base-word (always a noun, sometimes the second of the two elements in a compound word) accompanied by a determinant (either a noun in the genitive or, in the case of a compound-word kenning, the first of the compound's two elements).
kenning (plural kennings)
- (Northern England) A dry measure equivalent to half a bushel; a container with that capacity.
- 1585–1586 January 18, “LXIII. Testamentum Johannis Ogle. [63. Will of John Ogle.]”, in [William Greenwell], editor, Wills and Inventories from the Registry at Durham. Part II (The Publications of the Surtees Society; XXXVIII), Durham: Published for the Society by George Andrews, Durham; London: Whittaker and Co., 13 Ave Maria Lane; T. and W. Boone, 29 New Bond Street; Edinburgh: Blackwood and Sons, published 1860, OCLC 931289584, page 132:
- 1828, James Thompson, compiler; E. Mackenzie, chapter XXX, in A New, Improved, and Authentic Life of James Allan, the Celebrated Northumberland Piper; Detailing His Surprising Adventures in Various Parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, including a Complete Description of the Manners and Customs of the Gipsy Tribes. Collected from Sources of Genuine Authority, by James Thompson, with Explanatory Notes by E. Mackenzie, [...], Newcastle upon Tyne: Printed and published by Mackenzie and Dent, St. Nicholas' Church-yard [...], OCLC 872847, page 460:
- He called one day at Mr. Hepple's, of Needless Hall, in a forlorn condition, seeking his seed (a present of corn given at seed-time). […] After this conversation, Mr. Hepple served him with a kenning of oats, which was a much greater quantity than he usually gave on such occasions.
- ^ “kenning(e, ger.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 18 January 2018.
- ^ “kennen, v.(1).”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 18 January 2018.
- ^ “kennen, v.(2).”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 18 January 2018.
- religious doctrine, teaching
- (poetry) kenning (circumlocution used instead of an ordinary noun in Old Norse, Old English and later Icelandic poetry)