related by birth; of the same parentage, descent, etc.
Linguistics. descended from the same language or form: such cognate languages as French and Spanish.
allied or similar in nature or quality.


a person or thing cognate with another.
a cognate word: The English word cold is a cognate of German kalt.

Origin of cognate

1635–45; < Latin cognātus, equivalent to co- co- + -gnātus (past participle of gnāscī, nāscī to be born)
Related formscog·nate·ness, nouncog·nat·ic [kog-nat-ik] /kɒgˈnæt ɪk/, adjectivenon·cog·nate, adjective, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cognate

Contemporary Examples of cognate

  • However, the Old English "hund" later became "hound" but eventually was replaced by "dog," not a cognate.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How Old is the Illiad?

    Justin Green

    March 1, 2013

Historical Examples of cognate

  • The young men who figure at embassies and missions are all "cognate numbers."

    The Fortunes Of Glencore

    Charles James Lever

  • The adverbial sense to be wholly transferred to the cognate word.

    The Verbalist

    Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)

  • A glade or valley in the wood was called a Dean, Dene, Denne, cognate with den.

    The Romance of Names

    Ernest Weekley

  • The first syllable is cognate with mare and the second means servant.

    The Romance of Names

    Ernest Weekley

  • Richier, has generally been absorbed by the cognate Richard.

    The Romance of Names

    Ernest Weekley

British Dictionary definitions for cognate



akin; relatedcognate languages
related by blood or descended from a common maternal ancestorCompare agnate
cognate object grammar a noun functioning as the object of a verb to which it is etymologically related, as in think a thought or sing a song


something that is cognate with something else
Derived Formscognately, adverbcognateness, nouncognation, noun

Word Origin for cognate

C17: from Latin cognātus, from co- same + gnātus born, variant of nātus, past participle of nāscī to be born
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cognate

1640s, from Latin cognatus "of common descent," from com- "together" (see co-) + gnatus, past participle of gnasci, older form of nasci "to be born" (see genus). Words that are cognates are cousins, not siblings. As a noun, from 1754.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper