Definition of unbeknown in English:


(also unbeknownst)


unbeknown to
  • Without the knowledge of (someone)

    ‘unbeknown to me, she made some enquiries’
    • ‘He further relies upon the fact that, unbeknown to him, his informant status had become public knowledge.’
    • ‘The informer said that, unbeknown to retailers, it could be as long as 20 days from slaughter to final use-by date for a raw chicken breast.’
    • ‘There was a reason for this: unbeknown to the Reserve Bank, the major banks were working secretly and cooperatively to develop an alternative payment system that would substitute for direct debits.’
    • ‘But unbeknown to the Japanese, Soviet leader Josef Stalin had promised Washington and London that he would attack Japanese forces within three months of Germany's defeat.’
    • ‘However, unbeknown to the drivers, these black boxes have broken down in a ‘significant’ number of cases, requiring an engineer to be called to carry out repairs, or in most cases replace the device.’
    • ‘All unbeknown to 16-year-old Tan, the little Lakeland Terrier from Nottinghamshire, she was about to be named ‘special friend’ of the year.’
    • ‘But, unbeknown to his grieving colleagues above, the plucky soldier had managed to discover a pocket of air - after making an amazing 90 ft dive completely unaided.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, unbeknown to them, Mr Prescott had been busy scribbling in hidden corners, using this ill-gotten time to pen legislation that will make his name an abomination to all who cherish freedom.’
    • ‘I've even seen her reading someone else's book unbeknown to the chappie who was reading it first-hand; she must have read a good chapter or so of it.’
    • ‘Then, unbeknown to them, she moved them all around.’
    • ‘They even let people vote without identification - although, unbeknown to the voters, they then marked their ballots as invalid.’
    • ‘And proving well and truly that we are related, unbeknown to me she lists the ingredients for pastry and the method for scones.’
    • ‘But, unbeknown to Noah, Timna has set in motion a chain of events that will drastically affect God's plan.’
    • ‘But unbeknown to his family, he had packed extra items in his work bag including socks, a pair of trainers and some hair gel.’
    • ‘He was told to wait in the adjoining cloakroom but, unbeknown to his teacher, sprinted outside and through the school gates.’
    • ‘Our grandson, unbeknown to us, was safe and well one street away.’
    • ‘Sometime during the middle of our rally, unbeknown to many of us, the Destiny cavalry turned up.’
    • ‘But unbeknown to him, his staff had been putting them back on the list when he wasn't looking.’
    • ‘In the meantime, unbeknown to the French, the British and Germans were cooking up their own plan.’
    • ‘When he returned home she said he continued to tinker with the bike but, unbeknown to her, he then went out on it.’


Mid 17th century from un-‘not’ + archaic beknown ‘known’.