American English

Definition of unknown adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1unknown (to somebody) not known or identified a species of insect previously unknown to science He was trying,for some unknown reason, to count the stars. The man's identity remains unknown.
  2. 2(of people) not famous or well known an unknown actor The author is virtually unknown outside Poland.
  3. 3never happening or existing The disease is as yet unknown in Europe (= there have been no cases there). It was not unknown for people to have to wait several hours (= it happened sometimes).
  4. Idioms
    an unknown quantity
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    a person or thing whose qualities or abilities are not yet known
    unknown to somebody
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    without the person mentioned being aware of it Unknown to me, he had already signed the agreement.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: unknown