from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Sight; view; especially, a distant view at sea.
- n. Range or extent of vision, especially at sea; hence, a marine measure of about twenty miles.
- n. As little as one can recognize or discriminate; a small portion; a little.
- n. In Old Norse, Anglo-Saxon, and other old Teutonic poetry, a distinctive poetical name, usually periphrastic in form, used in addition to, or substituted for, the usual name of a thing or person.
The kenning, a metaphorical compound-word or phrase, is a descriptive stand-in for a noun.
'I wish there was a summat to eat up their drovers,' said another; 'a plain Englishman canna make bread within a kenning of them.'
And it came to pass that the next day about evening we saw within a kenning before us, toward the north, as it were thick clouds, which did put us in some hope of land, knowing how that part of the South Sea was utterly unknown, and might have islands or continents that hitherto were not come to light.
This word comes from the Old Norse 'kenna,' to know.