cog·​ni·​tion käg-ˈni-shən How to pronounce cognition (audio)
: cognitive mental processes
A concussion impaired the patient's cognition.
also : a product of these processes
käg-ˈnish-nəl How to pronounce cognition (audio)

Examples of cognition in a Sentence

disabilities affecting cognition and judgment
Recent Examples on the Web To get a better grasp of vocal learning and cognition, the study authors turned to songbirds. Jocelyn Solis-Moreira, Popular Science, 14 Sep. 2023 Pay attention to any changes in mood, cognition, or physical sensations. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 27 Aug. 2023 Adrafinil: effects on behavior and cognition in aged canines. The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 Aug. 2023 Research teams are looking at changes to lung function, cognition, and gene expression after smoke exposure and potential impacts on developing fetuses and infants, efforts that have taken on new urgency with recent events. Megan Molteni, STAT, 31 July 2023 Research has shown that reading encouraging expressions can have positive mental effects and can improve cognition and mental performance. Jon Stojan, USA TODAY, 10 July 2023 The study, the researchers say, confirmed previous research showing that cats are susceptible to visual illusions, which adds to the growing but still relatively meager body of research on cat cognition. Avery Hurt, Discover Magazine, 15 Sep. 2023 All of these changes have the potential to affect cognition and mental health. Alex Morris, Rolling Stone, 9 Sep. 2023 New research found that shift work—like working nights—may negatively impact someone’s cognition and memory.1 This is largely due to the misalignment of the body’s internal clock and circadian disruptions that occur with irregular sleep schedules. Kaitlin Sullivan, Health, 25 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cognition.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English cognicioun "comprehension, ability to comprehend," borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French cognicion "knowledge, jurisdiction," borrowed from Latin cognitiōn-, cognitiō "act of getting to know, comprehension, investigation," from cogni-, variant stem of cognōscere "to get to know, acquire knowledge of, become acquainted with, investigate" (from co- co- + gnōscere, nōscere "to get to know," inchoative derivative from Indo-European *ǵneh3-, *ǵṇh3- "to know, recognize") + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns — more at know entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cognition was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near cognition

Cite this Entry

“Cognition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


cog·​ni·​tion käg-ˈnish-ən How to pronounce cognition (audio)
: the act or process of knowing

Medical Definition


cog·​ni·​tion käg-ˈnish-ən How to pronounce cognition (audio)
: cognitive mental processes
: a conscious intellectual act
conflict between cognitions
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