Known Of: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
November 14, 2023

The term "known of" refers to being aware of someone or something's existence or characteristics. Use it when talking about things or people you've heard about but may not have direct experience with. For instance, you might say, "I've known of that band for a while, but I've never actually heard their music."

In short:

  • It means being aware of the existence of something or someone.
  • It's often used when you've heard about something but haven't directly encountered it.

What Does "Known Of" Mean?

If you say "known of," you're talking about being aware that something or someone exists. You may not have direct or in-depth knowledge about it, but you've at least heard of it. For example, you could say, "I've known of that restaurant," when you pass by an eatery you've never dined in but have heard people mention before.

Let's look at what it means and how it's used:

  • It suggests you've heard or learned about something or someone but haven't necessarily experienced it directly.
  • The phrase often pops up in discussions about people you've heard of but haven't met, places you've never visited, or concepts you're not familiar with.
  • It's a way to admit you have some knowledge about a subject but not complete understanding.
  • You might hear it in social settings, the workplace, or when discussing various topics like movies, books, or news.
  • Other similar terms could be "heard of," "aware of," or "familiar with."

Where Does "Known Of" Come From?

The term “known” is the past participle of “know.” In Middle English, it was “knouen,” which meant "well-known, famous, notorious." From the early 14th century, it was used to mean "recognized, not secret; familiar, not strange."

Historical Example

"What is the form of Africa? What is known of the interior of Africa? How is Africa bounded?"

- The Geographical Mirror. Containing an Accurate ..., 1817

10 Examples of "Known Of" in Sentences

To help you better understand how to use "known of," here are some examples from various scenarios:

  • She had known of the local coffee shop but had never been inside.
  • I've known of the monkey suit my cousin wears to parties, and it's quite the spectacle.
  • The teacher had known of the new teaching method but hadn't tried it yet.
  • My friend had known of a secret fishing spot, but it completely slipped my mind to ask him for directions.
  • Before the merger, the CEO had known of the other company's financial issues.
  • The coach had known of the rival team's star player since high school.
  • She had known of the recipe but decided to try making it only yesterday.
  • He had known of the new law but wasn't fully aware of its implications.
  • For generations, families have known of the special recipes passed down from the elders, treasuring them like gold.
  • She had known of their out-of-town trips every summer, but only this year did she get to join them.

Examples of "Known Of" in Pop Culture

This term also shows up in pop culture, typically when someone is talking about something they're aware of but haven't directly experienced.

Check out some examples:

  • A blurb from the book Shaul of Tarsos: The Man Who Came to Be Known as Saint Paul by Richard W. Coan: "This novel builds on what is known of the first-century Roman Empire, the conflicting cultures, and the life and views of Paul himself.
  • A quote from the book Oceans of Kansas: A Natural History of the Western Interior Sea by Michael J. Everhart: "... two reasonably complete skulls were known of Martinichthys. Both are in the collection of the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History. "

Synonyms: Other Ways to Say "Known Of"

Here are some other phrases you can use that mean the same thing:

  • Heard of
  • Aware of
  • Familiar with
  • Got wind of
  • Caught sight of
  • Found out about
  • Came across
  • Stumbled upon
  • Learned of
  • Discovered

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Known Of":

  • What does "known of" mean?

"Known of" means being aware of something or someone but not necessarily having direct experience with it or them. It's like saying you've heard of a place but have never visited.

  • How can I use "known of" in a sentence?

You can use "known of" as a verb phrase to talk about general awareness. For example, "I've known of that band for years, but I've never actually listened to their music."

  • Where is the term usually used?

"Known of" can be used in various settings, both formal and informal. It's common in conversations when you're talking about something you're aware of but haven't experienced firsthand.

No, it doesn't. Known of" can refer to places, concepts, things, or events—pretty much anything you can be aware of without direct experience.

  • Is it a strong or weak form of knowledge?

It's generally a weaker form of knowledge, signaling awareness but not necessarily deep understanding or firsthand experience.

  • Can it imply missed opportunities?

It can, but not always. Saying you've "known of" something could imply that you missed out on directly experiencing it, but that's not always the case.

  • Is it used more in speaking or in writing?

"Known of" appears in both speaking and writing. However, it's often more common in casual conversations.

  • How is it different from "heard of"?

While similar, "heard of" usually implies even less familiarity than "known of." If you've "known of" something, you might have more than just secondhand information about it.

  • Is it correct to say, "I should have known of it"?

Yes, that's correct. In this case, you're expressing regret that you weren't aware of something when perhaps you should have been.

  • Does "known of" imply a sense of regret?

Not by itself. Whether or not there's a sense of regret depends on the context in which it's used.

Final Thoughts About "Known Of"

The phrase "known of" is a handy way to talk about something you're aware of but haven't experienced directly. It's a good fit for different settings, from casual chats to formal discussions.

Here's a quick recap:

  • It's a phrase used to signal general awareness, not direct experience.
  • It can refer to people, places, or things—pretty much anything you can know about.
  • It's not necessarily a statement of regret or missed opportunity.
  • The phrase appears in both casual conversations and formal writing.

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