or cog·ni·sance

[ kog-nuh-zuhns, kon-uh- ]
See synonyms for: cognizancecognizances on

  1. awareness, realization, or knowledge; notice; perception: The guests took cognizance of the snide remark.

  2. Law.

    • judicial notice as taken by a court in dealing with a cause.

    • the right of taking jurisdiction, as possessed by a court.

    • acknowledgment; admission, as a plea admitting the fact alleged in the declaration.

  1. the range or scope of knowledge, observation, etc.: Such understanding is beyond his cognizance.

  2. Heraldry. a device by which a person or a person's servants or property can be recognized; badge.

Origin of cognizance

1250–1300; Middle English conisa(u)nce<Middle French con(o)is(s)ance, equivalent to conois(tre) to know (<Latin cognōscere;see cognition) + -ance-ance; forms with -g- (<Latin ) from the 16th century

Other words for cognizance

Other words from cognizance

  • non·cog·ni·zance, noun
  • self-cog·ni·zance, noun

Words Nearby cognizance Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cognizance in a sentence

  • In our chat, the company joked that its culture is to move quickly, but with the cognizance that they aren’t curing cancer.

  • He did not seem to take cognizance of the fact that we had a two weeks' board-bill to pay before we should get that far.

    Ways of War and Peace | Delia Austrian
  • All that we know is that they existed from the remotest period of which we have cognizance, long before the pyramids were built.

  • Hesitatingly she came forward, and Houston's dulled mentality at last took cognizance that a hand was extended slightly.

    The White Desert | Courtney Ryley Cooper
  • Wherefore he prays judgment whether this court can or will take further cognizance of the action aforesaid.

British Dictionary definitions for cognizance



/ (ˈkɒɡnɪzəns, ˈkɒnɪ-) /

  1. knowledge; acknowledgment

  2. take cognizance of to take notice of; acknowledge, esp officially

  1. the range or scope of knowledge or perception

  2. law

    • the right of a court to hear and determine a cause or matter

    • knowledge of certain facts upon which the court must act without requiring proof

    • mainly US confession

  3. heraldry a distinguishing badge or bearing

Origin of cognizance

C14: from Old French conoissance, from conoistre to know, from Latin cognōscere to learn; see cognition

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