GC: n

S: (last access: 27 June 2017); (last access: 27 June 2017).

N: 1. Also knowhow, “technical expertise,” 1838, American English, from know (v.) + how (adv.).
2. Knowledge of how to do something smoothly and efficiently: expertise.
3. Expert skill, information, or body of knowledge that (1) imparts an ability to cause a desired result, (2) is not readily available, and is (3) outside the public domain. Know how may include tangible material (such as blueprints, formulas, instructions, patterns, specifications, and trade-secrets) or intangibles (such as manufacturing practices, marketing concepts, quality control, and testing techniques) which are not common knowledge. In technology transfer agreements, know how is the most valuable factor and may have an indefinite enforceable life. In legal terms, it may be defined as “any industrial information and technique likely to assist in the manufacture or processing of goods or materials.” In the recent years, know how has come to be recognized as a factor of production in its own right, distinct from labor.
4. In the fields of Personality Development and Training of Personnel.
Context: The sale of “know-how” by one concern to another involves initiating the purchaser into the way of working, or the carrying on of processes, by the seller.
5. In other fields and contexts, the French term savoir faire is used in English.

  • The ability to act or speak appropriately in social situations. Early 19th century: French, literally ‘know how to do’.
  • Capacity for appropriate action; especially: a polished sureness in social behavior. First Known Use: 1788. French savoir-faire, literally, knowing how to do.
  • The ability to behave in a correct and confident way in different situations.
  • Synonym Discussion of savoir faire: tact, address, poise, savoir faire mean skill and grace in dealing with others. tact implies delicate and considerate perception of what is appropriate. ⟨questions showing a lack of tact⟩ address stresses dexterity and grace in dealing with new and trying situations and may imply success in attaining one’s ends. ⟨brought it off with remarkable address⟩ poise may imply both tact and address but stresses self-possession and ease in meeting difficult situations. ⟨answered the accusations with unruffled poise⟩ savoir faire is likely to stress worldly experience and a sure awareness of what is proper or expedient. ⟨the savoir faire of a seasoned traveler⟩.

S: 1. OED – (last access: 27 June 2017). 2. MW – (last access: 27 June 2017). 3. (last access: 27 June 2017). 4. TERMIUM PLUS – (last access: 27 June 2017). 5. OD – (last access: 27 June 2017); MW – (last access: 27 June 2017).

SYN: expertise (context)

S: MW – (last access: 27 June 2017)