[kog-nish-uh n]
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Origin of cognition

1375–1425; late Middle English cognicioun < Latin cognitiōn- (stem of cognitiō), equivalent to cognit(us), past participle of cognōscere (co- co- + gni-, variant stem of gnōscere, nōscere, to learn (see know1) + -tus past participle suffix) + -iōn- -ion
Related formscog·ni·tion·al, adjectivenon·cog·ni·tion, nounself-cog·ni·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for cognition


  1. the mental act or process by which knowledge is acquired, including perception, intuition, and reasoning
  2. the knowledge that results from such an act or process
Derived Formscognitional, adjective

Word Origin for cognition

C15: from Latin cognitiō, from cognōscere from co- (intensive) + nōscere to learn; see know
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 cognition

mid-15c., "ability to comprehend," from Latin cognitionem (nominative cognitio) "a getting to know, acquaintance, knowledge," noun of action from past participle stem of cognoscere (see cognizance).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cognition in Medicine


  1. The mental faculty of knowing, which includes perceiving, recognizing, conceiving, judging, reasoning, and imagining.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

cognition in Science


  1. The mental process of knowing, including awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.