cog·​ni·​zance ˈkäg-nə-zən(t)s How to pronounce cognizance (audio)
: a distinguishing mark or emblem (such as a heraldic bearing)
: knowledge, awareness
had no cognizance of the situation
: notice, acknowledgment
take cognizance of their achievement

Examples of cognizance in a Sentence

They seemed to have no cognizance of the crime. take cognizance of what is happening
Recent Examples on the Web His cognizance of and desire to confront social bigotry permeated his body of work as a producer, starting with his magnum opus All in the Family. Rebecca Sun, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Dec. 2023 The Gulf of Finland is under the cognizance of Finland (within its 12 nautical miles of territorial water), Sweden, Estonia and Russia. Eric Tegler, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 Courts must take cognizance. Niharika Sharma, Quartz, 29 Sep. 2021 In this scene — one of, if not the best in the film — Russell’s sweet face travels from pining to cognizance to outright fear, and just like that, Russell cements herself as a star in the making. Vulture, 29 Dec. 2022 Your in-the-moment cognizance of your hand’s location proves that neural signals must reach your brain extremely quickly. Bob Berman, Discover Magazine, 3 June 2014 Her cognizance of her husband’s changing nature is as much a part of the story as her disdain for his narcissistic drinking buddy. Radhika Seth, Vogue, 25 Oct. 2022 Mozgala, who has been with his role since the play’s 2016 premiere at Williamstown Theatre Festival, is a wry charm attack as John, with an air of confidence and cognizance of both his privilege and limitations. Naveen Kumar, Variety, 3 Oct. 2022 But since those cruelly oblivious documents took no cognizance of the African people living here, the region remains in a constant cycle of suffering, rebellion and suppression. Ron Charles, Washington Post, 23 Aug. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cognizance.' 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 cognisaunce, latinization (after cognōscere and its derivatives) of conissaunce, conoisance "knowledge, understanding, distinguishing mark (as on a shield)," borrowed from Anglo-French conoisance, conisance, from conisant, conoissant "aware, mindful" (from present participle of conoistre "to know, be aware of," going back to Latin cognōscere "to get to know, acquire knowledge of") + -ance -ance — more at cognition

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cognizance was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near cognizance

Cite this Entry

“Cognizance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


cog·​ni·​zance ˈkäg-nə-zən(t)s How to pronounce cognizance (audio)
: particular knowledge
had no cognizance of the crime
: the act or power of fixing one's mind on something : notice, heed
take cognizance of what is happening

Legal Definition


cog·​ni·​zance ˈkäg-nə-zəns How to pronounce cognizance (audio)

Old French connoissance right to acknowledge and adjudicate issues, literally, knowledge, acquaintance, from connoistre to be acquainted with

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