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

Facial recognition has become a new focus for critics. New York Times,, "Microsoft urges Congress to regulate facial recognition," 13 July 2018 Brown said his office was also looking into what additional recognition Congress could bestow on Winters, who was the mother of three Navy officers. Colin Campbell,, "Congress to hold moment of silence on House floor for Capital Gazette shooting victims," 11 July 2018 The consultation will examine whether changing rules on gender recognition would affect these protections. The Economist, "A culture war comes to Westminster," 5 July 2018 Amazon and Microsoft Amazon employees wrote a letter protesting the company’s sale of facial-recognition technology to law enforcement agencies, noting the software can make errors and infringe on privacy and due process rights. Joseph Menn, The Christian Science Monitor, "Silicon Valley employees increasingly push companies on ethics," 13 July 2018 Microsoft has developed its own facial-recognition technology, called Face. Jay Greene, WSJ, "Microsoft Calls on Government to Regulate Facial-Recognition Technology," 13 July 2018 Human rights groups say Chinese authorities have been zealously using big data collection, A.I. and facial-recognition technology to upgrade Beijing’s mass surveillance efforts. Dan Levin, New York Times, "A Tech Guru Captivated Canada. Then He Fled to China.," 10 July 2018 The suspect, Jarrod Ramos, altered or in some way couldn’t have his fingerprints analyzed by law enforcement, so officials used facial-recognition technology to identify him, according to reports. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "Facial Recognition Used to Identify Capital Gazette Shooting Suspect," 29 June 2018 Officials say the cameras do not have facial-recognition technology or the ability to track specific individuals or vehicles. Rick Rojas, The Seattle Times, "Newark police ask public to scan city’s surveillance-camera feeds," 9 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

7 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for recognition

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

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More Definitions for recognition



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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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 express warning or disapproval

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