The noun ken means "range of vision or comprehension." If quantum mechanics is beyond your ken, you don't understand it, or it is beyond your scope of knowledge.

  • Pronunciation: /kɛn/
  • English description: range of what one can know or understand
  • Synonyms: cognizance
  • Chinese Translation: 见地(jian4 di4)
  • Spanish Translation: algn
  • ORIGIN: 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 incognitocunning, and know itself.


  • If something is beyond your ken, you do not have enough knowledge to be able to understand it.
  • The subject matter was so technical as to be beyond the ken of the average layman.

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