I think there's an interesting fillip of information added when you use "know" in some sentences. The distinction "know" vs. "believe" seems to me to have within it an extra bit of a claim. When we say "the ancient Mayans knew that the year is a bit under 365 and a quarter days," we are really saying two things: (1) they believed that was so, and (2) we (the speaker of the sentence) also believe it. That is, "know" equals "believe correctly" (at least, correctly according to the speaker's standards). We can tell this is happening because we don't use this same phrasing for claims we believe (know?) not to be true. We say "Medieval Europeans believed that tomatoes were poisonous." Their belief was presumably every bit as strong as that of the Mayans, but they get stuck with "believed" instead of "knew," only because we, the speakers of the sentence, disagree with them (or should I say, because we "know better").

True, you sometimes will see something like, "People knew that the Earth was the center of the universe, and couldn't countenance any dissenting opinion," but I believe that that usage is more ironic than serious. The speaker here deliberately uses the "wrong" verb (and noticed in such sentences it's nearly always given extra stress) just to emphasize its wrongness. They believed it, so strongly... it was as if it were even right! But alas, I Know Better.

Just some thoughts; they were expressed a while ago by some folks pondering this notion on the Lojban mailing list, regarding the exact meanings of the Lojban predicates for "know" and "believe" and "opine" and such.

One of the cleverest radio call signs in the United States, KNOW is 91.1 FM Minnesota Public Radio's flagship 24-hour news and information station. The radio station KNOW relays its signal to smaller stations, many automated, throughout Minnesota and a bit into surrounding states.

KNOW is located at the intersection of 7th and Cedar Street in downtown St. Paul. KNOW's sister station, KSJN, is located in the same building. KSJN plays mostly classical music, though their morning show is eclectic. Both stations broadcast Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion live from the Fitzgerald Theater a few blocks away on Saturday evenings.

Know (?), n.





© Webster 1913.

Know (?), v. t. [imp. Knew (?); p. p. Known (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Knowing.] [OE. knowen, knawen, AS. cnawan; akin to OHG. chnaan (in comp.), Icel. kna to be able, Russ, znate to know, L. gnoscere, noscere, Gr. gighw`skein, Skr. jn; fr. the root of E. can, v. i., ken. (). See Ken, Can to be able, and cf. Acquaint, Cognition, Gnome, Ignore, Noble, Note.]


To perceive or apprehend clearly and certainly; to understand; to have full information of; as, to know one's duty.

O, that a man might know The end of this day's business ere it come! Shak.

There is a certainty in the proposition, and we know it. Dryden.

Know how sublime a thing it is To suffer and be strong. Longfellow.


To be convinced of the truth of; to be fully assured of; as, to know things from information.


To be acquainted with; to be no stranger to; to be more or less familiar with the person, character, etc., of; to possess experience of; as, to know an author; to know the rules of an organization.

He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin. 2 Cor. v. 21.

Not to know me argues yourselves unknown. Milton.


To recognize; to distinguish; to discern the character of; as, to know a person's face or figure.

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Matt. vil. 16.

And their eyes were opened, and they knew him. Luke xxiv. 31.

To know Faithful friend from flattering foe. Shak.

At nearer view he thought he knew the dead. Flatman.


To have sexual commerce with.

And Adam knew Eve his wife. Gen. iv. 1.

Know is often followed by an objective and an infinitive (with or without to) or a participle, a dependent sentence, etc.

And I knew that thou hearest me always. John xi. 42.

The monk he instantly knew to be the prior. Sir W. Scott.

In other hands I have known money do good. Dickens.

To know how, to understand the manner, way, or means; to have requisite information, intelligence, or sagacity. How is sometimes omitted. " If we fear to die, or know not to be patient."

Jer. Taylor.


© Webster 1913.

Know, v. i.


To have knowledge; to have a clear and certain perception; to possess wisdom, instruction, or information; -- often with of.

Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Is. i. 3.

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. John vii. 17.

The peasant folklore of Europe still knows of willows that bleed and weep and speak when hewn. Tylor.


To be assured; to feel confident.

To know of,to ask, to inquire. [Obs.] " Know of your youth, examine well your blood."



© Webster 1913.

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