cog·​i·​tate ˈkä-jə-ˌtāt How to pronounce cogitate (audio)
cogitated; cogitating

transitive verb

: to ponder or meditate on usually intently
cogitating the possible consequences of my decision

intransitive verb

: to meditate deeply or intently
cogitating on her career plans
cogitated on what would be the right thing to do
Choose the Right Synonym for cogitate

think, cogitate, reflect, reason, speculate, deliberate mean to use one's powers of conception, judgment, or inference.

think is general and may apply to any mental activity, but used alone often suggests attainment of clear ideas or conclusions.

teaches students how to think

cogitate implies deep or intent thinking.

cogitated on the mysteries of nature

reflect suggests unhurried consideration of something recalled to the mind.

reflecting on fifty years of married life

reason stresses consecutive logical thinking.

able to reason brilliantly in debate

speculate implies reasoning about things theoretical or problematic.

speculated on the fate of the lost explorers

deliberate suggests slow or careful reasoning before forming an opinion or reaching a conclusion or decision.

the jury deliberated for five hours

Examples of cogitate in a Sentence

I was cogitating about my chances of failing. by the time he finishes cogitating what to do with his life, it'll be almost over
Recent Examples on the Web With the eruptions and disruptions of digital mass culture as its Ferrari-level engine, often represented by the roaring drama of sport, Pfeiffer’s art cogitates on power as an ongoing campaign waged between the individual and the crowd. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 15 Nov. 2023 While Wall Street and Private Equity leaders have the time to leisurely cogitate the long view, business leaders (CEO’s, CMO’s, etc) have to make commitments today with real dollars based on their best guesses about the state of the consumer next fall and spring. Greg Petro, Forbes, 22 Apr. 2022 Dyson presents mathematical arguments that these beings can, through shrewd conservation of energy, maintain the resources needed to survive, cogitate and communicate in an eternally expanding cosmos. John Horgan, Scientific American, 16 June 2021 As his characters cogitate and self-medicate, scheme and philosophize, his subject is less the content of their thoughts than the mind contemplating itself. Washington Post, 11 June 2021 Jermaine uncovers America's obsession with capitalism and its cogitating impact on his everyday decision making, as well as those around him. Michael Saponara, Billboard, 20 Apr. 2018 Penrose believes that Hawking's condition has forced him to work more creatively, to take imaginative leaps where someone with a less uncertain future might want to cogitate a little longer. Jerry Adler, Newsweek, 14 Mar. 2018 But Long, one of the revelers, (Ensemble regular James Rankin, always terrific) has been cogitating, too -- about their lot in life. Andrea Simakis,, 9 Dec. 2017 But their arguments sustain this 95-minute, intermissionless play and send us away cogitating. By Lawrence Toppman, charlotteobserver, 21 Sep. 2017 See More

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

Word History


Latin cogitatus, past participle of cogitare to think, think about, from co- + agitare to drive, agitate

First Known Use

1582, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of cogitate was in 1582

Dictionary Entries Near cogitate

Cite this Entry

“Cogitate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


cog·​i·​tate ˈkäj-ə-ˌtāt How to pronounce cogitate (audio)
cogitated; cogitating
: to think over : ponder

More from Merriam-Webster on cogitate

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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