[in-kog-nee-toh, in-kog-ni-toh]


having one's identity concealed, as under an assumed name, especially to avoid notice or formal attentions.


with the real identity concealed: to travel incognito.

noun, plural in·cog·ni·tos for 3, 5.

a person who is incognito.
the state of being incognito.
the disguise or character assumed by an incognito.

Origin of incognito

1630–40; < Italian < Latin incognitus unknown, equivalent to in- in-3 + cognitus, past participle of cognōscere to get to know; see cognition, know1

Synonyms for incognito

1. disguised, undisclosed, unidentified. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for incognito

Contemporary Examples of incognito

Historical Examples of incognito

  • But I sincerely hope you do not impute improper motives to the incognito?

    Homeward Bound

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • That this interview shall be secret; your Highness be incognito.'

    Vivian Grey

    Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli

  • They had put on disguises so as to preserve their incognito.

  • Again, perhaps, they were as much puzzled by her incognito as she was by theirs.


    Louis Joseph Vance

  • His incognito, which had as many holes as a sieve, was not meant to hide a personality but a fact.

    Lord Jim

    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for incognito


adverb, adjective (postpositive)

under an assumed name or appearance; in disguise

noun plural -tos

a person who is incognito
the assumed name or disguise of such a person

Word Origin for incognito

C17: from Italian, from Latin incognitus unknown, from in- 1 + cognitus known
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 incognito

1640s, from Italian incognito "unknown," especially in connection with traveling, from Latin incognitus "unknown," from in- "not, opposite of, without" (see in- (1)) + cognitus, past participle of cognoscere "to get to know" (see cognizance). Fem. form incognita was maintained through 19c. by those scrupulous about Latin. Incog was a common 18c. colloquial abbreviation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper