cog·​ni·​tive | \ ˈkäg-nə-tiv How to pronounce cognitive (audio) \

Definition of cognitive

1 : of, relating to, being, or involving conscious intellectual activity (such as thinking, reasoning, or remembering) cognitive impairment
2 : based on or capable of being reduced to empirical factual knowledge

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Other Words from cognitive

cognitively adverb

How Should You Use cognitive?

Cognitive skills and knowledge involve the ability to acquire factual information, often the kind of knowledge that can easily be tested. So cognition should be distinguished from social, emotional, and creative development and ability. Cognitive science is a growing field of study that deals with human perception, thinking, and learning.

Examples of cognitive in a Sentence

Homo sapiens' survival is founded in their filling an evolutionary niche referred to as the cognitive niche. — Daniel Grassam, Skeptical Inquirer, July/August 2001 Researchers are debating whether heading balls can dent the cognitive skills of young soccer players for life. — Lisa McLaughlin, Time, 5 June 2000 Further into the forebrain, motor functions trail off and cognitive functions, involving planning and thinking about the future, begin. — Sandra Blakeslee, New York Times, 8 Nov. 1994
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Recent Examples on the Web The approval is for use in patients with mild cognitive impairment, which is the memory loss and loss of clear thinking ability that often progresses to dementia. Maggie Fox, CNN, 10 June 2021 In March 2019, late-stage clinical trials of aducanumab were stopped when results showed the drug, administered as a monthly infusion, was not better at slowing memory loss and cognitive impairment than a placebo. Joshua Cohen, Forbes, 8 June 2021 Trials only included patients in the earliest stages of dementia, called mild cognitive impairment. NBC News, 8 June 2021 It’s only been tested in people with mild dementia from Alzheimer’s or a less severe condition called mild cognitive impairment. Matthew Perrone,, 7 June 2021 The company also focused on administering Aduhelm to people with mild cognitive impairment or the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s, before brain cells were too damaged to stem the tide of the disease. Adam Feuerstein, STAT, 7 June 2021 In the next 10 years, nearly half of the oldest boomers face the likelihood of some cognitive impairment. Randall Smith, WSJ, 6 June 2021 Some recoveries are complete, and others trigger chronic depression or cognitive impairment. Anne Saker, The Enquirer, 28 May 2021 Rebecca is diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. Maggie Fremont, Vulture, 26 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cognitive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cognitive

1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cognitive

borrowed from Medieval Latin cognitīvus "concerned with knowing," from Latin cognitus, past participle of cognōscere "to get to know, acquire knowledge of" + -īvus -ive — more at cognition

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Time Traveler for cognitive

Time Traveler

The first known use of cognitive was in 1586

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Statistics for cognitive

Last Updated

16 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cognitive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for cognitive



English Language Learners Definition of cognitive

technical : of, relating to, or involving conscious mental activities (such as thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering)


cog·​ni·​tive | \ ˈkäg-nət-iv How to pronounce cognitive (audio) \

Medical Definition of cognitive

: of, relating to, or being conscious intellectual activity (as thinking, reasoning, remembering, imagining, or learning words) the cognitive elements of perception— C. H. Hamburg

Other Words from cognitive

cognitively adverb


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