cog·​ni·​zant ˈkäg-nə-zənt How to pronounce cognizant (audio)
: knowledgeable of something especially through personal experience
also : mindful
cognizant of the potential dangers
Choose the Right Synonym for cognizant

aware, cognizant, conscious, sensible, alive, awake mean having knowledge of something.

aware implies vigilance in observing or alertness in drawing inferences from what one experiences.

aware of changes in climate

cognizant implies having special or certain knowledge as from firsthand sources.

not fully cognizant of the facts

conscious implies that one is focusing one's attention on something or is even preoccupied by it.

conscious that my heart was pounding

sensible implies direct or intuitive perceiving especially of intangibles or of emotional states or qualities.

sensible of a teacher's influence

alive adds to sensible the implication of acute sensitivity to something.

alive to the thrill of danger

awake implies that one has become alive to something and is on the alert.

a country always awake to the threat of invasion

Examples of cognizant in a Sentence

Not like some college kid beaming in blissful ignorance, but rather like a worldly 23-year-old, self-aware and fully cognizant of the dire straits he's entering. Jody Berger, ESPN, 14 June 1999
… the idea of a machine cognizant of that human Achilles' heel, emotion, can conjure more sinister images—like HAL, the savvy, menacing computer in "2001," whose fear that he would be unplugged led him to kill all but one of the crew members on a space mission. Daniel Goleman, New York Times, 7 Jan. 1997
… to assure you that I am neither privy to, nor cognizant of, any such clique; and that I most potently disbelieve in the existence of any such. Abraham Lincoln, letter, 13 Oct. 1849
He is cognizant of his duties as a father. not fully cognizant of the details of the trade agreement
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These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cognizant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1820, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cognizant was in 1820

Dictionary Entries Near cognizant

Cite this Entry

“Cognizant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

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