re·​con·​noi·​ter ˌrē-kə-ˈnȯi-tər How to pronounce reconnoiter (audio)
variants or reconnoitre
reconnoitered or reconnoitred; reconnoitering or reconnoitring ˌrē-kə-ˈnȯi-tə-riŋ How to pronounce reconnoiter (audio)

intransitive verb

: to engage in reconnaissance

Examples of reconnoiter in a Sentence

An expedition reconnoitered the coast to find out the exact location of enemy forces. They were sent ahead to reconnoiter.
Recent Examples on the Web Squat under the brush; bend to see around branches and trees; crawl to reconnoiter dense thickets. 46. Outdoor Life, 19 Nov. 2019 Thomas Caldwell Thomas Caldwell, a Navy veteran who once worked for the FBI, coordinated a planned armed response and engaged in reconnoitering the Capitol, prosecutors said. Ella Lee, USA TODAY, 26 May 2023 The paddlers quickly pulled off to the right bank, secured the canoes and set up camp, while a scouting party hacked their way through the brush to reconnoiter. Larry Rohter, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Apr. 2023 Beginning in late 2026, Hera will reconnoiter both Dimorphos and Didymos to take measurements of the rocks and show how DART changed the system. Meghan Bartels, Scientific American, 29 Mar. 2023 Along the way the spacecraft will scrutinize Saturn’s mysterious and spectacular rings and reconnoiter its many satellite worlds, especially Titan — the largest moon in the solar system and, it is believed, the only one with its own atmosphere. Alex Orlando, Discover Magazine, 6 Aug. 2020 In August, with the approach of spring, the expedition continued to reconnoiter the forbidding coast. Gerard Helferich, WSJ, 14 Aug. 2022 Russia is reportedly using other, non-loitering drones, such as the Orlan-10, to reconnoiter Ukrainian positions. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 28 Mar. 2022 The team will reconnoiter later today as well, trying to answer the same questions. Eric Tegler, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'reconnoiter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


obsolete French reconnoître, literally, to recognize, from Old French reconoistre — more at recognize

First Known Use

1705, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of reconnoiter was in 1705

Dictionary Entries Near reconnoiter

Cite this Entry

“Reconnoiter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


variants or reconnoitre
ˌrē-kə-ˈnȯit-ər How to pronounce reconnoiter (audio)
 also  ˌrek-ə-
reconnoitered or reconnoitred; reconnoitering or reconnoitring
: to make a reconnaissance (as in preparation for military action)
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