What does the idiom "be in the know" mean?

You are wondering about the meaning of the phrase be in the know, maybe you heard it in a TV show, movie or theater play. Although this idiom is not used very often, it enriches your capacity of expression and strengthens communication. In which case is the expression be in the know used and what is its meaning?

Meaning of "be in the know"


The idiom "be in the know" is a phrase used to describe someone who is knowledgeable or informed. It means that they are aware of information that most other people either don't have, or are not aware of. The phrase is often used to refer to people who have the inside details on a certain subject or matter.


The origin of the phrase "be in the know" is unknown, although its use in literature dates back to at least the late 1800s. The phrase likely comes from the idea of knowing or understanding something that others don't.


The phrase "be in the know" is usually used to describe people who possess knowledge that is not widely known or accessible. It can be used to refer to someone who knows the details of a particular situation or subject, as well as those who have access to exclusive information. For example, a person could say, "I know someone who works for the government, so I'm in the know on some of the policies they're considering."

Example Sentences

  • John was always in the know about the latest gossip in the office.
  • I'm sure you know someone who can put you in the know about the company's plans.
  • I'm in the know about the new restaurant opening downtown.
  • He always seems to be in the know about what's going on in the industry.

The meanings of the words in the "be in the know" idiom

Beyond the Literal: Figurative Language in Idioms

Idioms often use figurative language to convey a message that is not meant to be taken literally. For instance, the idiom "bite the bullet" means to endure a painful or difficult situation without complaint, while "hold your horses" means to be patient and wait. Other idioms, like "kick the bucket" or "pop your clogs," use euphemisms to talk about death.


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