Pronunciation Verb

ken (kens, present participle kenning; past and past participle kenned)

  1. (obsolete) To give birth, conceive, beget, be born; to develop (as a fetus); to nourish, sustain (as life).
    • 1524, Margaret Roper (translator), A Devout Treatise upon the Paternoster, Desiderius Erasmus
      To the soul this ghostly bread is the learning and the teaching and the understanding in the commandments of God, wherethrough the soul is kenned and lives.

ken (kens, present participle kenning; past kenned, past participle kenned)

  1. (transitive, mostly, Scotland) To know, perceive or understand.
  2. (obsolete, mostly, Scotland) To discover by sight; to catch sight of; to descry.
    • 1662 Thomas Salusbury, Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (Dialogue 2):
      I proposed to the Mariners, that it would be of great benefit in Navigation to make use of [the telescope] upon the round-top of a ship, to discover and kenne Vessels afar off.
    • 1713, Joseph Addison, Cato, published 1712, [Act 5, scene 1]:
      We ken them from afar.''
    • c. 1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Troylus and Cressida”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act 4, scene 5], line 14:
      'Tis he. I ken the manner of his gait.
Translations Noun

ken (uncountable)

  1. Knowledge, perception, or sight.
    • 1957, United States Congressional serial set - Issue 11976:
      These people, these 20 or 25, were in my ken. Senator Jenner. In his what? Mr. Greenglass. My ken, my line of vision, my knowledge.
    • 1977, Roulhac Toledano, ‎Sally Kittredge Evans, The Esplanade Ridge:
      On this occasion, I wrote to them: "Two more modest and deserving people than you are not in our ken; and it is but fitting that you receive this, preservation's most prestigious prize, for your selfless devotion to the cause through the years.
    • 1999, Catherine Z. Elgin, Considered Judgment:
      Since nothing in our ken differentiates knowledge from luck, something beyond our ken is introduced to do so. But the conviction that we know something is small comfort when coupled with the realization that we cannot tell what.
    • 2012, Keith McCarthy, Nor All Your Tears:
      I couldn't see the funny side myself, but Tristan could; after a while he could hardly control his merriment, in fact, so that he collapsed back on the bed, continuing to chortle, more of his rather unpleasant teeth making an unwelcome appearance in my ken.
  2. (nautical) Range of sight.
    • 1674, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book I, lines 59-60:
      At once as far as Angels kenn he views
      The dismal Situation waste and wilde ...
  • Russian: кругозо́р

ken (plural kens)

  1. (slang, UK, obsolete, thieves' cant) A house, especially a den of thieves.

ken (plural kens)

  1. A Japanese unit of length equal to six shakus

Pronunciation Proper noun
  1. A male given name.
  2. (colloquial) Kensington in London (in combinations, e.g. South Ken, High Street Ken).

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