Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Perception; understanding.
  • noun Range of vision.
  • noun View; sight.
  • intransitive verb To know (a person or thing).
  • intransitive verb To recognize.
  • intransitive verb To have knowledge or an understanding.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • A dialectal variant of kine, plural of cow.
  • To show; declare; teach; point out; tell.
  • To see; descry; recognize.
  • To lie within sight of; have a view of.
  • To know; understand; take cognizance of.
  • In Scots law, to acknowledge or recognize by a judicial act: as, to ken a widow to her terce (that is, to recognize or decree by a judicial act the right of a widow to the life-rent of her share of her deceased husband's lands). See terce.
  • To look around; gain knowledge by sight; discern.
  • noun A place where low or disreputable characters lodge or meet: as, a padding-ken (a lodging-house for tramps); a sport ing-ken
  • noun The straight two-edged Japanese sword.
  • noun An abbreviation of Kentueky.
  • noun Cognizance; physical or intellectual view; especially, reach of sight or knowledge.
  • noun A Japanese measure of length, equal to 71½ English inches.
  • To beget; bring forth.
  • To breed; hatch out.
  • noun A churn.
  • noun A prefecture or territorial division of Japan, governed by a kenrei. Japan is now divided into 3 fu and about 40 ken.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb obsolete To look around.
  • noun Slang, Eng. A house; esp., one which is a resort for thieves.
  • noun Cognizance; view; especially, reach of sight or knowledge.
  • transitive verb Archaic or Scot. To know; to understand; to take cognizance of.
  • transitive verb Archaic or Scot. To recognize; to descry; to discern.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Knowledge or perception.
  • noun nautical Range of sight.
  • verb transitive To know, perceive or understand.
  • verb obsolete To discover by sight; to catch sight of; to descry.

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

  • noun the range of vision
  • noun range of what one can know or understand

Etymologies

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

[From Middle English kennen (influenced by Old Norse kenna, to know), from Old English cennan, to declare; see gnō- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Northern and Scottish dialects from Old English cennan ("make known, declare, acknowledge") originally “make to know”, causative of cunnan ("to become acquainted with, to know"), from Old Norse kenna ("know, perceive"), from Proto-Germanic *kannijanan, causative of *kunnanan (“be able”). Cognate to German kennen ("to know, be acquainted with someone/something").

Examples

Comments

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  • Ah dinnae ken, hen!

    translated for Sassenachs as "I'm terribly afraid I don't know, dearest!"

    June 11, 2007

  • Do you ken John Peel?

    February 28, 2008

  • Yes, I am aware of the person of whom you speak.

    February 28, 2008

  • We kenned the old cripple, immersed in an elbow chair, with a pillow under his head, cushions under his arms, and his legs supported on a large stool, stuffed with down.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 2 ch. 1

    September 13, 2008

  • I like it better verbed.

    October 15, 2008

  • Dog in Japanese.

    February 5, 2010

  • Then felt I like some watcher of the skies

    When a new planet swims into his ken

    From "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer" by John Keats

    September 6, 2010

  • "ken" in Hungarian means: to spread (by a knife)

    August 7, 2012

  • Recorded in English since 900!

    May 16, 2018