knowing

(redirected from knowingness)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal.

know a hawk from a handsaw

To be able to tell two things apart. The phrase comes from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Of course I know which twin is which, I know a hawk from a handsaw, after all!
See also: hawk, know

know chalk from cheese

To be able to tell two things apart (especially by recognizing their differences). Of course I know which twin is which, I know chalk from cheese, after all! Leah has a beauty mark under her left eye, and Deena doesn't.
See also: chalk, cheese, know

know for a fact

To have definitive knowledge of something. I know for a fact that he cheats in cards! I saw the ace up his sleeve. My mom says she knows for a fact that I'm getting the internship at her company, but I won't believe it until the recruiter calls me.
See also: fact, know

know (something) inside and out

To be well-versed in and/or very familiar with something. I'm ready for this exam—I know genetics inside and out! I think Mary will do great at the audition, now that she knows the dance inside and out. These cabbies know the city streets inside and out.
See also: and, inside, know, out

know (one's) beans

To be knowledgeable about and/or very familiar with something. I had no idea you were such a good piano player—you really know your beans!
See also: bean, know

know (someone)

To have a familiarity with someone; to know who someone is. Such familiarity can range from close friendship to having only met someone once. Oh yeah, I know Mr. Meyers, he used to be my neighbor. He knew Vanessa long before she became a famous singer.
See also: know

know what's o'clock

To be attentive and aware of all that is going on. Those students thought they could get away with cheating in my class, huh? Too bad I know what's o'clock!
See also: know

know which way the wind blows

To be able to anticipate how a certain course or situation is likely to develop. These politicians know which way the wind blows regarding public opinion on the issue, and you can bet they'll vote accordingly.
See also: blow, know, way, wind

know a thing or two

To be knowledgeable about something. The phrase is usually used to indicate that one knows more about something than someone thinks. Hey, I know a thing or two about art—I was an art history major in college, you know!
See also: know, thing, two

know (something) by heart

To have learned or memorized something completely. Ask Becky to recite the poem—she knows it by heart. I can't sing that song in front of an audience if I don't know the words by heart!
See also: heart, know

know (someone or something) inside out

To know everything or nearly about someone or something; to be thoroughly familiar with someone or something. I've read this book so many times that I know it inside out. If you study this material for weeks, you'll know it inside out by the test date. I just think you should know a person inside out before you decide to marry them.
See also: inside, know, out

know better

To be aware or capable of better or smarter behavior than one has demonstrated. You know better than to talk to strangers! What were you thinking? You know better than to try to question that professor—he doesn't care what we have to say.
See also: better, know

know the score

To understand the reality of a particular situation, often when that information is displeasing Oh, I know the score—my older sisters are allowed to do things that I'm not.
See also: know, score

know (something) off pat

To learn, master, or understand something perfectly, to the point of requiring little or no focus to do, recall, or accomplish it. I know it's a little tricky getting the hang of the machine, but keep at it, and you'll know it off pat in no time. My sister is such a musical prodigy that she can know a song off pat after listening to it only once or twice.
See also: know, off, pat

know nothing and care less (about someone or something)

To have only a passing knowledge and absolutely no concern about someone or something. A: "Don't you have any family who would take you in?" A: "I had a half-brother who lived upstate, but the last time I checked, he knew nothing and cared less about what happens to me." There's no point getting frustrated at the computer. It's just a machine—it knows nothing and cares less about what you want it to do, only what you tell it to do.
See also: and, care, know, less, nothing, someone

know little and care less (about someone or something)

To have only a passing knowledge and absolutely no concern about someone or something. A: "Don't you have any family who would take you in?" A: "I had a half-brother who lived upstate, but the last time I checked, he knew little and cared less about what happens to me." There's no point getting frustrated at the computer. It's just a machine—it knows little and cares less about what you want it to do, only what you tell it to do.
See also: and, care, know, less, little, someone

know (someone or something) by sight

To recognize someone or something based on its or their appearance, but without knowing its or their name or any other information. Everyone in town knows the iconic bridge by sight, but few know the history of when it was built and why it was designed to look so peculiar. Even after working there for a year, there were still some co-workers whom I only knew by sight.
See also: know, sight

know too much

cliché To have too much detailed or intimate information (about someone or something) to be allowed to live, lest one divulges that information to someone else. The accountant knows too much about our… less legal sources of income. Eliminate him.
See also: know, much

know what it is to be (something)

To have thorough knowledge about or a lot of experience of being something. Don't stand there and act like you know what it is to be a soldier. You've never even been in live combat. You should talk to Deborah. She certainly knows what it is to be mother running her own business.
See also: know, what

know who's who

To know details about or have connections with everyone or many people in a group. Usually used in relation to groups of rich, powerful, or famous people. I feel like a total fraud in this relationship. I mean, she knows who's who in the ultra-rich upper class of Maine, while I'm just a poor bartender who's going to community college. If you want to get ahead in this industry, you need to know who's who.
See also: know, who

(there's) no saying

There is no way one can be sure; no one knows or can tell. He's already very volatile at the moment—no saying how he'll react to bad news like this. Unfortunately, there's no saying if such an effort will actually translate to a meaningful, long-lasting improvement in the economy.
See also: no, saying

(there's) no telling

There is no way one can be sure; no one knows or can tell. He's already very volatile at the moment—no telling how he'll react to bad news like this. Unfortunately, there's no telling if such an effort will actually translate to a meaningful, long-lasting improvement in the economy.
See also: no, telling

(there's) no knowing

There is no way one can be sure; no one knows or can tell. He's already very volatile at the moment—no knowing how he'll react to bad news like this. Unfortunately, there's no knowing if such an effort will actually translate to a meaningful, long-lasting improvement in the economy.
See also: knowing, no

know a thing or two

(about someone or something) Go to a thing or two (about someone or something).
See also: know, thing, two

know better (than to do something)

to be wise enough, experienced enough, or well trained enough not to have done something wrong. Mary should have known better than to accept a lift from a stranger. Children should know better than to play in the road.
See also: better, know

know the score

 and know what's what
Fig. to know the facts; to know the facts about life and its difficulties. Bob is so naive. He sure doesn't know the score. I know what you're trying to do. Oh, yes, I know what's what.
See also: know, score

know better

Be able to recognize something as wrong or not possible, as in Mary should know better than to leave her child alone in the house, or Try to get in without a ticket? You know better than that. [c. 1700]
See also: better, know

know the score

Also, know what's what. Understand what is happening; be familiar with the real story or the full situation. For example, It will take the new legislators some time to know the score, or When it comes to teaching youngsters to read, Nell knows what's what. The first expression, dating from about 1930, alludes to score as a tally of points in a game. The variant dates from about 1400.
See also: know, score

know the score

INFORMAL
COMMON If you know the score, you know and accept the real facts about a situation, even though you may not like them. I know the score — my career will last as long as my looks. Taylor isn't stupid — he knows the score. He has to produce results soon or he'll be out of a job.
See also: know, score

know a thing or two

be experienced or shrewd.
1993 Rolling Stone Andy Shernoff …knows a thing or two about great glam punk.
See also: know, thing, two

know the score

be aware of what is going on; be aware of the essential facts about a situation. informal
2002 New York Times Magazine Nowadays, everyone knows the score. Aside from discovering, say, that Tom Hanks is mean, what story of show business ugliness would scandalize us?
See also: know, score

know too much

be in possession of too much important information to be allowed to live or continue as normal.
See also: know, much

know who's who

be aware of the identity and status of each person.
See also: know, who

there is no knowing

no one can tell.
See also: knowing, no, there

know ˈbetter (than that/than to do something)

be sensible enough not to do something: You left the car unlocked? I thought you’d know better.He knows better than to judge by appearances.
See also: better, know

know the ˈscore

(informal) know the true situation, especially if this is bad: Look, you know the score, we can’t afford a car right now.
See also: know, score

know a thing or two (about somebody/something)

(informal) know a lot about somebody/something from your own experience: After ten years as a teacher, I know a thing or two about how children learn.‘How much do you know about computers?’ ‘Oh, I know a thing or two.’
See also: know, thing, two

there’s no ˈknowing/ˈsaying/ˈtelling...

it is impossible to know/say/tell: There is no telling what he may do when he gets angry.There’s no saying what will happen.
See also: knowing, no, saying

know the score

tv. to know the way things work in the hard, cruel world. Don’t try to con me. I know the score.
See also: know, score
References in periodicals archive ?
Then he looks at some of the dispositions cultivated by the narrative, particularly feelings of helplessness, knowingness, shame, and a peculiar attitude he calls optative.
There is an immense difference between intellectual understanding and knowingness.
In her finest poems, knowingness comes with the linguistic territory: it is not contrived or concealed, not mapped-on or realized at the poem's destination.
The following morning as Jayne's hangover kicks in, she meets Emily, Blodwen's feral daughter, a vixenish pre-teen whose vicious knowingness conceals a damaged personality.
Knowingness, and the separation of form and content that comes from it, is much more difficult to ascertain in W.
This kind of knowingness would only go so far, however, without John C.
They are also an implicit rejection of the smartass knowingness that is our current armor against emotion, and of the reduction of mainstream movies to spectacle and merchandising opportunities.
Figure 1 presents a striking example of these visual poetics: on an emotional level, Grimberg reads the photos as suggesting "a quiet knowingness that lies somewhere between something shared and something kept secret.
The play's costume and set design, which drew associations with depression-era fascism, world-war militarism, and postwar moral hypocrisy, heightened Ophelia's movement from naivete to knowingness.
Lauper as the aging whore Jenny Diver is tentative at first, but singing "Solomon Song" she's perfectly lit and coiffed to resemble Dietrich in The Blue Angel, Innocence and knowingness superbly cohabit McKay's portrayal of Macheath's young bride, Polly Peachum, but her voice grates, as if she's singing just out of her range.
But before I forget, two really great old guys stay in my memory as yardsticks conveying humour, knowingness and craft: Sverre Fehn in Oslo and Clorindo Testa in Buenos Aires.
Not exactly panic stations - Cork don't do panic - yet a vague sort of knowingness drifted across O hAilpin at that point.
A common interaction with, perhaps, uncommon features that might say something about silences, sightings, knowingness, and the potentialities of being human together.
Knowingness, impenetrability, and the safety of saying nothing say it all.
Philip Armstrong's Shakespeare's Visual Regime: Tragedy, Psychoanalysis and the Gaze is a provocative, largely Lacanian, account of the visual and subjective dispensation inaugurated, he argues, during the early modern era and articulated with particular knowingness in Shakespearean drama.