• synonyms


or re·con·nois·sance

[ri-kon-uh-suh ns, -zuh ns]
  1. the act of reconnoitering.
  2. Military. a search made for useful military information in the field, especially by examining the ground.
  3. Surveying, Civil Engineering. a general examination or survey of a region, usually followed by a detailed survey.
  4. Geology. an examination or survey of the general geological characteristics of a region.
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Origin of reconnaissance

1800–10; < French; Middle French reconoissance recognizance
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for reconnoissance

Historical Examples of reconnoissance

  • While there a prisoner was brought in who had been taken during a reconnoissance.

    Historical Tales, Vol. 6 (of 15)

    Charles Morris

  • The reconnoissance was unsuccessful, the weather being unfavorable.

  • I did not need to tell her the result of my reconnoissance: she read it in my looks.

    The Quadroon

    Mayne Reid

  • Satisfied on this head, I cast my eye abroad to make a reconnoissance of my quarters.

    The Quadroon

    Mayne Reid

  • I had made this reconnoissance while my companion was engaged in fastening his pirogue to the tree.

    The Quadroon

    Mayne Reid

British Dictionary definitions for reconnoissance



  1. the act of reconnoitring
  2. the process of obtaining information about the position, activities, resources, etc, of an enemy or potential enemy
  3. a preliminary inspection of an area of land before an engineering survey is made
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Word Origin for reconnaissance

C18: from French, from Old French reconoistre to explore, recognize
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 reconnoissance



1810, from French reconnaissance "act of surveying," literally "recognition," from Old French reconoissance "recognition, acknowledgement" (see recognizance).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper