rec·​og·​ni·​tion | \ ˌre-kig-ˈni-shən How to pronounce recognition (audio) , -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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The film’s Oscar wins were historic, and Asian Americans expressed their joy over the recognition on social media. NBC News, "'Parasite' cast and crew celebrates Oscar wins in LA's Koreatown," 11 Feb. 2020 Organized as part of the Fort Bend County Libraries’ month-long recognition of African American History Month, library officials say the event is appropriate for all age groups. Kristi Nix, Houston Chronicle, "Fort Bend County Libraries bring Rosa Parks’ story to life," 10 Feb. 2020 When the dam eventually breaks, she is blindsided by her loss, but also, strikingly, by the recognition of her own mental decline. Julia Rothchild, The New Yorker, "“The Last Conversation” and the Difficult Questions of Dementia," 6 Feb. 2020 For instance, Mohabbewala in Dehradun was once known for its lush fields of basmati rice, a product that even gave the city recognition on the world map. Hridayesh Joshi, Quartz India, "An idyllic Indian city in the Himalayan foothills is crumbling under the weight of its “smart city” tag," 4 Feb. 2020 The recognition and accolades that accompany the runs garner local and national prestige for their programs. Callie Caplan, Dallas News, "A rare peril: How dominance can become a hindrance for powerhouse football teams’ non-district schedules," 29 Jan. 2020 The recognition of Israeli settlements will likely be a major sticking point for Palestinians. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Iranian foreign minister calls Trump's Israel peace deal 'a nightmare for the region'," 28 Jan. 2020 The Sunday night performance doubled as recognition of the group's considerable career and their selection as the 2020 recipients of the MusiCares Person of the Year award. Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, "Grammy Awards: Aerosmith, Run-DMC Kick Down the Wall Between Genres Again," 27 Jan. 2020 The pay becomes the recognition and validation that reinforces the meaning of the work. Sarah Menkedick, Longreads, "Telling Stories In Order to Live: On Writing and Money," 17 Jan. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about recognition

Time Traveler for recognition

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for recognition

Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Recognition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for recognition


How to pronounce recognition (audio)

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 How to pronounce recognition (audio) \

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 How to pronounce recognition (audio) \

Medical Definition of recognition

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

Keep scrolling for more


rec·​og·​ni·​tion | \ ˌre-kəg-ˈni-shən How to pronounce recognition (audio) \

Legal Definition of recognition

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!