rec·​og·​ni·​tion | \ ˌre-kig-ˈni-shən, -kəg-\

Definition of recognition

1 : the action of recognizing : the state of being recognized: such as
a : acknowledgment especially : formal acknowledgment of the political existence of a government or nation
b : knowledge or feeling that someone or something present has been encountered before
2 : special notice or attention
3 : the sensing and encoding of printed or written data by a machine optical character recognition magnetic ink character recognition

Examples of recognition in a Sentence

The procedure is gaining recognition as the latest advance in organ transplant surgery. The Olympic Committee gave official recognition to the sport. His smile was a recognition that things were not so bad. Her paintings received recognition from her fellow artists. All she wanted was some recognition for her work. He finally received the recognition that he deserved. They were awarded medals in recognition of their bravery.
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Recent Examples on the Web

And while its functionality is fairly straightforward, Gate’s founders are already thinking about how to build in biometric authentication—think fingerprints and facial recognition—in the not too distant future. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "App-controlled, video smart lock is like a personal doorman," 8 Oct. 2018 Most apps take anywhere from 3 to 5 seconds to load, and some things that should be super-fast, like voice recognition, still take way too long to start up. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Review: Google’s Wear OS 2.0 can’t fix its obsolete smartwatch hardware," 28 Sep. 2018 Not everyone is on board with this new facial recognition–driven world. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Biometrics Worked! U.S. Border Patrol Celebrates Success of Early Tech," 24 Aug. 2018 Dr Ozanyan and Dr Scully therefore turned, as is now commonplace for anything to do with pattern recognition, to an artificial-intelligence system that uses machine learning to disentangle and recognise such patterns. The Economist, "The way people walk can be used for ID and health checks," 12 July 2018 Martin Ferreira, who oversees the San Francisco Police Department’s Graffiti Unit, said the vast majority of graffiti found throughout the city is done by taggers merely seeking fame and recognition, and rarely done with gang affiliation. Lauren Hernandez,, "Seven ‘high-profile’ graffiti taggers indicted in taggings across San Francisco," 10 July 2018 The statue, which cost $10,000, received national recognition, the report states. Kimberly Fornek,, "Hinsdale American Legion restoring statue with new medallion, nearly 90 years after original was stolen," 10 July 2018 Aside from some members gaining prominence for their songwriting, overall Pentagon hadn’t seen much recognition for any of their previous singles. Tamar Herman, Billboard, "K-Pop Boy Band Pentagon Talk Making It With 'Shine' & Songwriting," 6 July 2018 Nyx’s lip products, in particular, have earned major love and recognition, with some favorites being its Butter Glosses and the Soft Matte Lip Creams. Allie Fasanella, Allure, "Nyx Is Launching a Brand-New Lip Gloss, Liner, and Lipstick for Summer," 23 June 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for recognition

Middle English recognicion, from Anglo-French recognition, from Latin recognition-, recognitio, from recognoscere

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Last Updated

17 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for recognition

The first known use of recognition was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of recognition

: the act of accepting that something is true or important or that it exists

: the act of accepting someone or something as having legal or official authority

: the act of knowing who or what someone or something is because of previous knowledge or experience


rec·​og·​ni·​tion | \ ˌre-kig-ˈni-shən \

Kids Definition of recognition

1 : the act of knowing and remembering upon seeing She looked straight at Johnny and he at her. Neither gave any sign of recognition.— Esther Forbes, Johnny Tremain
2 : the act of accepting the existence, truth, or importance of something recognition of past mistakes
3 : special attention or notice The writer's work won recognition.


rec·​og·​ni·​tion | \ ˌrek-əg-ˈnish-ən \

Medical Definition of recognition

: the form of memory that consists in knowing or feeling that a present object has been met before

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rec·​og·​ni·​tion | \ ˌre-kəg-ˈni-shən \

Legal Definition of recognition

1 : the act, process, or fact of recognizing
2 : the state of being recognized

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More from Merriam-Webster on recognition

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with recognition

Spanish Central: Translation of recognition

Nglish: Translation of recognition for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of recognition for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about recognition

Comments on recognition

What made you want to look up recognition? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

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