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Thread: Know

  1. #1
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Know

    The English verb know can mean having sexual intercourse as in:
    Adam knew Eve. My questions:
    1. Is this meaning a direct translation from the Bible because the Hebrew verb implies having sex?
    2. Does it lie in the nature of such a verb?
    3. Does a verb like know exist in other languages (having additionally this meaning)?
    4. Can know be used in English in other contexts apart from Adam and Eve?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Know

    This usage of "know" is a direct translation from the Hebrew Bible.

    I am not certain, but I don't think this usage occurs in other European languages--certainly not in the modern translations in use today.

    There's only one trace of this Biblical expression in modern English. It's the expression "carnal knowledge", which means "sexual intercourse." It's now mainly a legal time.

    regards
    edward

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim View Post
    The English verb know can mean having sexual intercourse as in:
    Adam knew Eve. My questions:
    1. Is this meaning a direct translation from the Bible because the Hebrew verb implies having sex?
    2. Does it lie in the nature of such a verb?
    3. Does a verb like know exist in other languages (having additionally this meaning)?
    4. Can know be used in English in other contexts apart from Adam and Eve?

  3. #3
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Know

    Thanks Baqarah131. I just thought it might also lie in the nature of a verb like know. You can easily extend its meaning to include body knowledge. A sentence like: I know her is ambiguous because it is not clear what I know about her.

    One personal question if you don't mind: Baqarah is an Arabic word for cow maybe you came across it in Quran since one of the suras is so called.

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    Default Re: Know

    To me, know isn't ambiguous in the sentence, "I know her." It means we've met face to face and interacted.
    Baqarah131 is the verse in the Holy Quran where Abraham tells God, "I have surrendered to the Lord of the worlds." I've been using it as a screen name and email address for years.

    I checked both BBC and CNN this morning and found no news at all about what is the level of violence in Pakistan. All I found was argument over the government's latest version of how Ms. Bhutto died.

    Peace be with you
    edward

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim View Post
    Thanks Baqarah131. I just thought it might also lie in the nature of a verb like know. You can easily extend its meaning to include body knowledge. A sentence like: I know her is ambiguous because it is not clear what I know about her.

    One personal question if you don't mind: Baqarah is an Arabic word for cow maybe you came across it in Quran since one of the suras is so called.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Know

    To clarify: the use of "know" to mean "sexual intercourse" is not common in modern English, and used only in old-fashioned religious contexts. Modern translations of the Bible use other verbs, for example "lie with".

    Because it's a direct translation from Hebrew, though, other languages do use "know" in this context. Martin Luther, for example, in his German translation of 1545, uses "erkennen", which means "to recognise"; the French translation by Louis Segond (19th century) uses "connaître", "to know".

    But in these languages the same rule applies: it's old-fashioned usage and only used in very traditional religious contexts.

    Incidentally, in the original Hebrew texts, the idea was that "knowing" somebody sexually came from "knowing" the difference between male and female, and that knowledge came about because Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.

  6. #6
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Know

    Thanks Baqara131 and Rewboss. Oddly the dictionaries don't say anything about old fashioned: know - OneLook Dictionary Search
    I heard somebody say: it is said as a joke using the body langauge to make your intention clear. Again there is no information given in the dictionaries I consulted. The modern German word erkennen doesn't have any associations with that sense. But as Rewboss said it is a literall translation from the Bible, limited to its Biblical use. OED might provide some more help.
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 29-Dec-2007 at 12:34.

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    Default Re: Know

    Knowledge of the Bible is extremely limited in this part of the world, especially among young people. I saw a girl working on a crossword puzzle, and when she asked a group of five adults for the name of the first book of the Bible, none of them knew the answer.
    This archaic use of "know" is thoroughly forgotten here. I can't imagine anyone making a joke that required a person to understand the old term.

    We do use many expressions that came originally from the Bible--things like "How the mighty have fallen."

    regards
    edward

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim View Post
    Thanks Baqara131 and Rewboss. Oddly the dictionaries don't say anything about old fashioned: know - OneLook Dictionary Search
    I heard somebody say: it is said as a joke using the body langauge to make your intention clear. Again there is no information given in the dictionaries I consulted. The modern German word erkennen doesn't have any associations with that sense. But as Rewboss said it is a literall translation from the Bible, limited to its Biblical use. OED might provide some more help.

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    Default Re: Know

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim View Post
    Oddly the dictionaries don't say anything about old fashioned
    I've just had a quick look, and they do. The label most dictionaries use to mean "old-fashioned" is "archaic".

  9. #9
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Know

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss View Post
    I've just had a quick look, and they do. The label most dictionaries use to mean "old-fashioned" is "archaic".
    Thanks Rewboss you are right.

  10. #10
    susiedqq is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Know

    "They know each other, in the biblical sense." is still used to describe people who have had or are having a sexual relationship.

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