Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Occurring or existing without the knowledge of; unknown: a crisis unbeknown to us.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. not beknown

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not known; unknown.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Unknown.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adv. without someone's knowledge
  • adj. (usually used with `to') occurring or existing without the knowledge of

Etymologies

un-1 + obsolete beknown, known (from Middle English beknowen, past participle of beknowen, to get to know, from Old English becnāwan : be-, be- + cnāwan, to know; see know).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Back-formation of unbeknownst. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • WITNESS: It 'adn't bin, but my nevy bein' a watchmaker, called unbeknown to me, an 'made it right on Thursday night, which it was

    The Mystery of a Hansom Cab

  • WITNESS: It ’adn’t bin, but my nevy bein’ a watchmaker, called unbeknown to me, an’ made it right on

    The Mystery of a Hansom Cab

  • In preparing the lemonade, the friend pointed to the brandy-bottle, and said the lemonade would be more palatable if he were to pour in a little brandy; when his guest said, if he could do so "unbeknown" to him, he would "not object."

    Conservapedia - Recent changes [en]

  • The fabulously rich and entirely heartless hero has not merely the extravagance but (which is very rare with Gautier) the vulgarity of Byronism; the opening orgie, by an oversight so strange that it may almost seem to be no oversight at all, reminds one only too forcibly of the ironic treatment accorded to that institution in _Les Jeune-France_, and suffers from the reminder; the blending of East and West and the _Arabian Night_ harems in Paris, "unbeknown" to everybody, [210] almost attain that

    A History of the French Novel, Vol. 2 To the Close of the 19th Century

  • "Waymarsh has been, 'unbeknown' to me, I'm convinced" -- for Miss Gostrey had enquired -- "in communication with

    The Ambassadors

  • From which illustration I inferred that Mr. Lincoln wanted Davis to escape, "unbeknown" to him. "

    Conservapedia - Recent changes [en]

  • But in fact, unbeknown to her friends, she was an undercover police officer.

    Second police officer to infiltrate environmental activists unmasked

  • You were my first friend in Mexico (unbeknown to you) through your web site.

    Feliz Cumplea�os to ROLLY!

  • And, unbeknown to my daughters, I also had the reality of a big credit card bill and much work to do dismantling the idyllic, beautiful holiday I created to prove our family's dreams weren't melting on the path to divorce.

    Sharon Zarozny: Should We Feed Our Kids The Marriage Fantasy?

  • Putnam's job was to make sure that the manmade island and all manmade products -- foods, waste, fuels, trash -- were secured from the federally-protected animal, which had denned there sometime in late October to give birth, unbeknown to wildlife officials or work crews.

    AlaskaDispatch.com: Spy Island Polar Bears, Meet the World

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.