Contextual Usage

The word “knowledge” in English derives from the Old English “cnāwan,” meaning “to know,” combined with the suffix “-leċe” or “-leċ,” which indicates an abstract noun. Its roots trace back to the Proto-Germanic “knew-” and the Proto-Indo-European root “ǵneh₃-,” which also means “to know.”

Historical Usage

  • Proto-Indo-European: “*ǵneh₃-” denoted knowing or recognizing.
  • Proto-Germanic: “*knew-” carried the same sense of knowing or perceiving.
  • Old English: “Cnāwan” evolved to “cnāwleċe,” referring to the state of being aware or informed.
  • Middle English: The term became “knouleche,” which later simplified to “knowledge” in modern English.

Modern Usage Across Disciplines

  1. Philosophy: Explores the nature, origin, and limits of human understanding.
  2. Education: Represents the accumulation of facts, skills, and information through learning and experience.
  3. Science: Involves the systematic collection and analysis of data to understand natural phenomena.
  4. Information Technology: Pertains to data management, storage, and retrieval.
  5. Linguistics: Examines the cognitive and social processes involved in acquiring and using language.

Cultural Perspectives

  • Western Cultures: Emphasizes empirical evidence and scientific methods.
  • Eastern Cultures: Often integrates holistic and spiritual dimensions.

Knowledge in Modern Context

Today, “knowledge” is understood as the sum of what is known, encompassing information, skills, and understanding gained through education and experience.