Definition of cognate
1 : of the same or similar nature : generically alike the cognate fields of film and theater
2 : related by blood a family cognate with another; also : related on the mother's side
3a : related by descent from the same ancestral language Spanish and French are cognate languages.b of a word or morpheme : related by derivation, borrowing, or descent English “eat” and German “essen” are cognate.c of a substantive : related to a verb usually by derivation and serving as its object to reinforce the meaning (as song in “she sang a song”)
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Examples of cognate in a sentence
English “eat” and German “essen” are cognate.
Spanish and French are cognate languages.
Did You Know?
The story of "cognate" is all relative: that is, it's all about relatives. Cognate words share an ancestor, like "allude" and "prelude" (which both trace to the Latin root ludere) and the English "brother" and the German Bruder (which are both related to the Greek phrater). Cognate languages, like French, Spanish, and Italian, descend from the same ancestral language. People related through a common ancestor are cognate, and groups of people, such as tribes, can be cognate to one another. "Cognate" also describes things related in a more figurative way, as in "cognate developments," "cognate disciplines," or "cognate problems." "Cognate" itself comes from the Latin cognatus which traces to Latin nasci meaning "to be born." Some words cognate to "cognate" include "innate," "nascent," "native," and "Renaissance."
Origin and Etymology of cognate
Latin cognatus, from co- + gnatus, natus, past participle of nasci to be born; akin to Latin gignere to beget — more at kin
First Known Use: circa 1645
Definition of cognate
: one that is cognate with another “Eat” and “essen” are cognates.
COGNATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of cognate for English Language Learners
linguistics : having the same origin
Seen and Heard
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