The Closing Word: Ken

The Closing Word: ExtirpateThis week we continue our vocabulary-building series, “The Closing Word.” Each week we provide a new word to help build your vocabulary and show you an example of how to use it.

This week’s closing word:


Pronounced: (KEN)

1. range of what one can know or understand
2. the range of vision

From “Ken is rarely used today outside of the phrase, “beyond one’s ken.” It goes all the way back, however, to Proto Indo-European, the reconstructed ancestor of most European, Near Eastern, and South Asian languages. Coming from the root *gno- “to know,” ken has many relatives in modern English such as ‘incognito’, ‘cunning’, and ‘know’ itself.”

“The seller wanted to know how much it would cost to replace the home’s foundation, but I had to admit a sound estimate of such a complicated repair was beyond my ken.”

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