noun rec·og·ni·tion \ ˌre-kig-ˈni-shən , -kəg- \
|Updated on: 18 Jul 2018

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

  1. The procedure is gaining recognition as the latest advance in organ transplant surgery.

  2. The Olympic Committee gave official recognition to the sport.

  3. His smile was a recognition that things were not so bad.

  4. Her paintings received recognition from her fellow artists.

  5. All she wanted was some recognition for her work.

  6. He finally received the recognition that he deserved.

  7. They were awarded medals in recognition of their bravery.

Recent Examples of recognition from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of recognition

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

RECOGNITION Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of recognition for English Language Learners

  • : 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

RECOGNITION Defined for Kids


noun rec·og·ni·tion \ ˌre-kig-ˈni-shən \

Definition of recognition for Students

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.

Medical Dictionary


noun 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

Law Dictionary


noun 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

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


to hasten

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Test Your Emoji Exceptionalism

  • test-your-emoji-exceptionalism-written-with-a-lot-of-emoji
  • What is this emoji intended to represent: 🤳
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!