adjective cog·ni·tive \ ˈkäg-nə-tiv \
Updated on: 23 Mar 2018

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



Examples of cognitive in a Sentence

  1. Homo sapiens' survival is founded in their filling an evolutionary niche referred to as the cognitive niche. —Daniel GrassamSkeptical InquirerJuly/August 2001
  2. Researchers are debating whether heading balls can dent the cognitive skills of young soccer players for life. —Lisa McLaughlinTime5 June 2000
  3. Further into the forebrain, motor functions trail off and cognitive functions, involving planning and thinking about the future, begin. —Sandra BlakesleeNew York Times8 Nov. 1994

Recent Examples of cognitive from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

COGNITIVE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of cognitive for English Language Learners

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

Medical Dictionary


adjective cog·ni·tive \ ˈkäg-nət-iv \

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



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