[ kog-nuh-zuhnt, kon-uh- ]
/ ˈkɒg nə zənt, ˈkɒn ə- /
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having cognizance; aware (usually followed by of): He was cognizant of the difficulty.
having legal cognizance or jurisdiction.
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Origin of cognizant

First recorded in 1810–20; cogniz(ance) + -ant

synonym study for cognizant

1. See conscious.


non·cog·ni·zant, adjectivenon·cog·ni·zant·ly, adverbpre·cog·ni·zant, adjectiveun·cog·ni·zant, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does cognizant mean?

To be cognizant of something is to be aware of it or have knowledge of it.

Such awareness can be called cognizance.

Cognizant is almost always followed by the word of and the thing that the person is cognizant of, as in He was cognizant of the report at the time. It’s often used in the phrase cognizant of the fact, as in I’m cognizant of the fact that you dislike me, but we still need to work together to get this done.

Cognizant is typically used in a formal way. The adjective aware means much the same thing but is used more broadly.

Example: At what point did you become cognizant of the fact that you were not receiving everything that you were promised?

Where does cognizant come from?

The first records of cognizant come from around 1820. It’s an adjective form of the noun cognizance, which is recorded much earlier, in the 1200s. It ultimately comes from the Latin cognōscere, meaning “to know.” The word cognition is based on the same root.

Being cognizant doesn’t involve cognition so much as recognition. Being cognizant of something is recognizing that it exists, having knowledge of it, or being aware of it.

Cognizant is used in a more specific way in a legal context. The noun cognizance can refer to a court’s right to jurisdiction in a case, or to knowledge of certain facts, or, sometimes, to a confession. The adjective cognizant can be applied in any of these situations. The related word recognizance is also used in a legal context, often referring to an obligation to appear before a court or perform some other legal action, as in He was released on his own recognizance.  

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What are some other forms related to cognizant?

  • noncognizant (adjective)
  • noncognizantly (adverb)
  • precognizant (adjective)
  • uncognizant (adjective)
  • cognizance (noun)

What are some synonyms for cognizant?

What are some words that share a root or word element with cognizant

What are some words that often get used in discussing cognizant?

How is cognizant used in real life?

Cognizant is typically used in a formal way.




Try using cognizant!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of cognizant?

A. aware
B. conscious
C. informed
D. ignorant

How to use cognizant in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cognizant



/ (ˈkɒɡnɪzənt, ˈkɒnɪ-) /

(usually foll by of) aware; having knowledge
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