Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



c. 1636: probably from unbeknown +‎ -st



unbeknownst (not comparable)

  1. (followed by to) without the knowledge of
    He went home early, unbeknownst to his mother.
    • 2017 August 27, Brandon Nowalk, “Game Of Thrones slows down for the longest, and best, episode of the season (newbies)”, in The Onion AV Club[1]:
      Theon’s redemption scene convincingly threatens to kill him right there on the beaches of Dragonstone, dying for a good cause unbeknownst to anyone but the rapscallions who watched him die, but at last it swerves into something genuinely heroic.

Usage notes[edit]

Some writers advise against using this word, describing it as "unnecessary". It is true that it can usually be replaced by unknown (to), though the sentence may need rearranging to sound natural:

Unknown to his mother, he went home early.