Why isn't 'know' spelled 'gno'?

There’s probably some obvious answer having to do with Latin vs. Greek or somesuch. But gno appeals to me and it’s easier to text. Unless there’s some big reason not to change it, I’d like it if we all went with “gno” from now on. (No ‘w’ either–what the hell’s that for?.)

Thank you.

Because it’s knot.

Why do you want to change a 1-syllable word to 2 syllables? (g-no)

Because it’s derived from the Middle English knowen and the Old English gecnāwan. In both cases, the k sound was pronounced.

that gant be right

Silly knnnnnigits.

Ewe want to come up with a gnu spelling?

Trying to pull the wool over our eyes ungulating for something else, eh?

Do you say guh-nome? (gnome)

Watts all this, then?

I support putting g’s in front of all n’s.

This Kant be good gnus.

Gno suggests it would be pronounced “ɲo” or “nyo.”

Have you been running around embarrassing yourself since clear back in college, saying g-nostic? The g is silent as the k is silent. It just feels more righter. Plus, really, the w? And when you see “gno,” don’t you immediately think of gnowledge, compared to when you see “know”? I mean, you have to think about “know.” Not “gno,” though.


The G and the K weren’t originally silent. They are etymological artifacts. Gnome comes from a Latin word that begins with a g. Gnostic comes from the Greek, where the gamma was pronounced. Know comes from a Germanic word that began with a k sound.

Neither ‘gn’ nor ‘kn’ was originally pronounced as ‘n’, the g and k became silent when the pronunciations of the words shifted, but the spelling didn’t.

Ah, shaddup youze all and go ghoti!

No, no I (and most other people) don’t. If you do, that’s an unusual quirk of your own.

‘Gno’ is meaningless. (Well, I use it occasionally, but only to tease a friend who plays gnomes in D&D a lot. And there it’s a ‘gnomification’ of ‘no’, not ‘know’.)

If you’re going to reform spelling to remove etymological artifacts, why the hell would you replace them with etymological artifacts from different words from different languages, with different prior pronunciations (which just happen to have normalized toward the same pronunciation). This is a bizarre form of hypercorrection.

Reformed spelling of ‘know’ would be ‘no’. Knowledge, likewise, would be ‘nalij’. Gnome would be ‘nom’, and gnostic would be ‘nastik’. Spellings consistent with their most common modern English pronunciations, but completely removed from etymology…

By extension why isn’t knife spelled gnife? Or (since everyone is comparing it) why isn’t gnome spelled knome? Beats me, but it isn’t so don’t kwestion it.

Not anymore that “gnu” suggest “nyoo.” (ETA: Although I do see that “nyoo” is listed as a variant pronunciation.) Perhaps if you thought it was an Italian word it would suggest that pronunciation but, to me, “gno” would be “no.” I can’t think of a single English word beginning with “gn” that is pronounced with a “ny.” (Think: gnarl, gnu, gnostic, gnaw, gnat, etc.) Even “gnocchi” is generally pronounced “no-key” in my experience.

Tch. I just really like gno better.

A Linux geek would say: “GNOME is pronounced guh-no-m!”

Look up IPA and try again. Or have an IPA.

Those people are wrong, although not the biggest deviation. Besides, English has some Italian influence, and lots of French. Forgot about that one, didn’t you, been drinking too much shampa-nyeh?

English doesn’t have a lot of Khoikhoi influence, or else we might know how to pronounce gnu.