Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.


1. Possessing knowledge, information, or understanding: very knowing about transportation costs.
2. Showing clever awareness and resourcefulness; shrewd and worldly: "Even so knowing a young ruffian as William Chaloner would have had no preparation for the shock of London" (Thomas Levenson).
3. Suggestive of secret or private knowledge: a knowing glance.
4. Deliberate; conscious: a knowing attempt to defraud.
5. Archaic Fashionable; stylish: "Many young men ... drove about town in very knowing gigs" (Jane Austen).

know′ing·ly adv.
know′ing·ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.knowingness - having knowledge of; "he had no awareness of his mistakes"; "his sudden consciousness of the problem he faced"; "their intelligence and general knowingness was impressive"
self-awareness - awareness of your own individuality
feel - an intuitive awareness; "he has a feel for animals" or "it's easy when you get the feel of it";
sense - a general conscious awareness; "a sense of security"; "a sense of happiness"; "a sense of danger"; "a sense of self"
knowing - a clear and certain mental apprehension
2.knowingness - shrewdness demonstrated by knowledge
astuteness, perspicaciousness, perspicacity, shrewdness - intelligence manifested by being astute (as in business dealings)
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
He possessed a dim, vague, imperative knowingness that it was not merely not good, but supremely disastrous, leading to the mistily glimpsed sense of utter endingness for a dog, for any dog, to go into the water where slipped and slid and noiselessly paddled, sometimes on top, sometimes emerging from the depths, great scaly monsters, huge-jawed and horribly-toothed, that snapped down and engulfed a dog in an instant just as the fowls of Mister Haggin snapped and engulfed grains of corn.
Such qualities in an inferior, who could always be treated with authority in spite of his superior knowingness, had necessarily a fatal fascination for Tom; and every holiday-time Maggie was sure to have days of grief because he had gone off with Bob.
If some parts of his conduct made Captain Dobbin exceedingly grave and cool; of what use was it to tell George that, though his whiskers were large, and his own opinion of his knowingness great, he was as green as a schoolboy?
Casson, the landlord of the Donnithorne Arms, in his most striking attitude--that is to say, with the forefinger of his right hand thrust between the buttons of his waistcoat, his left hand in his breeches pocket, and his head very much on one side; looking, on the whole, like an actor who has only a mono-syllabic part entrusted to him, but feels sure that the audience discern his fitness for the leading business; curiously in contrast with old Jonathan Burge, who held his hands behind him and leaned forward, coughing asthmatically, with an inward scorn of all knowingness that could not be turned into cash.
The grossest ignorance does not disgust like this impudent knowingness. The physicians say they are not materialists; but they are:--Spirit is matter reduced to an extreme thinness: O so thin!--But the definition of spiritual should be, that which is its own evidence.
On Wall Street, as in other areas of the modern economy, this attitude leads to a culture of knowingness. People learn to bluff their way through, day to day.
We have a gnosis, a knowingness that nursing is a wide and lofty profession filled with caring, compassionate, fun-loving professionals who in our hearts carry a humility so perfectly woven into the gravity of what we are called to do.
The author selected the title from a list including "Suck-up City:" "You'll Always Have Lunch in This Town Again," and "The Club." After working in Washington, D.C., for 15 years, he learned that This Town imposes on its "actors a reflex toward devious and opportunistic behavior, and a tendency to care about public relations more than any other aspect of their professional lives--and maybe even personal lives." This Town as Washingtonians refer to the place, festers "faux disgust and a wry distance--a verbal tic as a secret handshake." A play on the two-word refrain people in This Town frequently use, "This Town" functions as a cliche of "belonging, knowingness, and self-mocking civic disdain"
On the pumping Sexxx Dreams, she revels in a lustful fantasy with playful knowingness, a coy admission of drunkeness at the close making the type of personal connection her fans admire and cling to.
"They find naked emotion embarrassing so they like their art covered with knowingness and irony, which is why they like Jarvis Cocker, who is a good writer.
"Most affecting of all is the early intimate depiction of Darling and her sub-teen gang, with their speaking eyes and quick-witted banter--a wonderfully original set of characters whom Bulawayo allows a convincing combination of innocence and knowingness. Their indomitable energy, spirit and hope, often in the face of truly painful odds, are just memorable." MARGARET BUSBY
It's very much her film, but Bullock - who hasn't appeared in a good film since 2006's Infamous - proves to be a terrific foil with a knowingness in her eyes suggesting she's sending up every cop drama ever made.