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 Sleep deprivation and chronic stress, which plague patients with IBD, can accelerate cognitive decline, Charabaty Pishvaian said. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "People with inflammatory bowel disease might be at higher risk for dementia, study finds," 23 June 2020 Rising levels of carbon dioxide may lead to a decline in human cognitive abilities, while rising heat may increase suicide rates. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's Magazine, "Findings," 23 June 2020 In 2020, as in 1984, cognitive function will likely play no decisive role in our presidential balloting. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, "Trump Is Losing His Hold on the Senior Vote," 17 June 2020 In a 2016 study, researchers compared the short-term cognitive impairments caused by the weapon to dementia. NBC News, "Two experts say use of deadly force against Rayshard Brooks unwarranted," 14 June 2020 According to Hedstrom, he was cleared to resume working only after showing improvement in cognitive testing. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Father of Badgers center Joe Hedstrom continues to progress from serious injuries suffered during April bicycle accident," 14 June 2020 Her husband could have cognitive (or other) problems that have brought this on recently. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: Sibling’s differing political views lead to unfriending," 14 June 2020 About 34% of patients still showed the same cognitive impairment 12 months after discharge from the hospital. Cassidy Morrison, Washington Examiner, "Patients deal with lingering health issues upon discharge for COVID-19," 11 June 2020 More than 50 percent of the patients in nursing homes and assisted living facilities have some form of cognitive impairment, and the unique challenges of providing memory care in normal times are dramatically exacerbated during the pandemic. Paul Bayfield, National Geographic, "For dementia patients and their families, isolation during the pandemic is a heavy burden," 9 June 2020

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

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cognitive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for cognitive


How to pronounce cognitive (audio)

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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