cog·​ni·​zance | \ ˈkäg-nə-zən(t)s How to pronounce cognizance (audio) \

Definition of cognizance

1 : a distinguishing mark or emblem (such as a heraldic bearing)
2a : knowledge, awareness had no cognizance of the situation
b : notice, acknowledgment take cognizance of their achievement

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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 Morrison is the first pop artist to show cognizance of COVID reality. Armond White, National Review, "Van Morrison Sings for the Voiceless," 2 Dec. 2020 Still, an inchoate anxiety lurked behind the mania, a fleeting cognizance that for all their demands of more, nothing could ever match this. Elaina Plott, New York Times, "Win or Lose, It’s Donald Trump’s Republican Party," 27 Oct. 2020 And seemingly no cognizance that on that very day, fires were consuming vast swaths of California and Oregon. Star Tribune, "If we wait any longer to take climate change seriously, it will be too late," 18 Sep. 2020 Here in Chicago, the mayor had to put fencing up at Montrose Beach after a crowd of overzealous disease vectors held a weekend party that didn’t appear to include masks, social distancing or cognizance of a pandemic. Rex Huppke,, "Column: Trump signs worthless coronavirus executive orders while Americans choose stupidity over commonsense," 10 Aug. 2020 The rejoinder to all this is that the furtive and ambiguous nature of the interaction with the Ukrainians may well point to a cognizance of its impropriety. Rich Lowry, National Review, "The Best Trump Defense," 1 Nov. 2019 Caesar tries to force a Roman republic into a global hegemony without full cognizance of the inevitable blowback from centuries of republican government, and so predictably is assassinated by a dying generation of dreamy senators. Victor Davis Hanson, New York Times, "When to Wage War, and How to Win: A Guide," 20 Apr. 2018 Taking cognizance of the shift change, companies must continue to innovate, invest in R&D, and continue to develop new technologies to thrive in today’s challenging landscape. Rebecca Maitland, Houston Chronicle, "Engineering still sees great industry demand," 29 Apr. 2018 The scene is undeniably tender, but something in the couple’s eyes, cast down in cognizance, belies the presence of McGinley’s lens. Adam Davidson, The New Yorker, "Ryan McGinley’s Exuberant Downtown, 1999–2003," 3 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cognizance.' 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 cognizance

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cognizance

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

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Time Traveler for cognizance

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

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Cite this Entry

“Cognizance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for cognizance



English Language Learners Definition of cognizance

formal : knowledge or awareness of something


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

Legal Definition of cognizance

History and Etymology for cognizance

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

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