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See more synonyms for recognize on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), rec·og·nized, rec·og·niz·ing.
  1. to identify as something or someone previously seen, known, etc.: He had changed so much that one could scarcely recognize him.
  2. to identify from knowledge of appearance or characteristics: I recognized him from the description. They recognized him as a fraud.
  3. to perceive as existing or true; realize: to be the first to recognize a fact.
  4. to acknowledge as the person entitled to speak at a particular time: The Speaker recognized the congressman from Maine.
  5. to acknowledge formally as entitled to treatment as a political unit: The United States promptly recognized Israel.
  6. to acknowledge or accept formally a specified factual or legal situation: to recognize a successful revolutionary regime as the de facto government of the country.
  7. to acknowledge or treat as valid: to recognize a claim.
  8. to acknowledge acquaintance with, as by a greeting, handshake, etc.
  9. to show appreciation of (achievement, service, merit, etc.), as by some reward, public honor, or the like.
  10. Law. to acknowledge (an illegitimate child) as one's own.
  11. Biochemistry, Immunology. to bind with, cleave, or otherwise react to (another substance) as a result of fitting its molecular shape or a portion of its shape.
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Also especially British, rec·og·nise.

Origin of recognize

1425–75; recogn(ition) + -ize; replacing late Middle English racunnysen, recognisen < Old French reconuiss-, stem of reconuistre < Latin recognōscere, equivalent to re- re- + cognōscere to know1; see cognition
Related formsrec·og·niz·a·ble [rek-uhg-nahy-zuh-buhl, rek-uhg-nahy-] /ˈrɛk əgˌnaɪ zə bəl, ˌrɛk əgˈnaɪ-/, adjectiverec·og·niz·a·bil·i·ty, nounrec·og·niz·a·bly, adverbrec·og·niz·er, nounnon·rec·og·nized, adjectivepre·rec·og·nize, verb (used with object), pre·rec·og·nized, pre·rec·og·niz·ing.qua·si-rec·og·nized, adjectiveun·rec·og·niz·a·ble, adjectiveun·rec·og·niz·a·bly, adverbun·rec·og·nized, adjectiveun·rec·og·niz·ing, adjectivewell-rec·og·nized, adjective

Synonyms for recognize

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unrecognized

Contemporary Examples of unrecognized

Historical Examples of unrecognized

  • Her broad back had been unrecognized by the herald, careless in her haste.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • She could follow the Ford girl, unknown, unrecognized, while he himself could not.

    The Film of Fear

    Arnold Fredericks

  • What signified it that I was poor and ragged—unknown, unrecognized—if she were to be the gainer?

    A Day's Ride

    Charles James Lever

  • They were unrecognized, and they enjoyed themselves like children.

    The Traitors

    E. Phillips (Edward Phillips) Oppenheim

  • I must have seen her, and yet I do not think I could have passed her by unrecognized.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

British Dictionary definitions for unrecognized



  1. not recognized or identifiedhitherto unrecognized planets
  2. not given formal acknowledgment of legal statusthe unrecognized Communist Workers' Party
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verb (tr)
  1. to perceive (a person, creature, or thing) to be the same as or belong to the same class as something previously seen or known; know again
  2. to accept or be aware of (a fact, duty, problem, etc)to recognize necessity
  3. to give formal acknowledgment of the status or legality of (a government, an accredited representative, etc)
  4. mainly US and Canadian to grant (a person) the right to speak in a deliberative body, debate, etc
  5. to give a token of thanks for (a service rendered, etc)
  6. to make formal acknowledgment of (a claim, etc)
  7. to show approval or appreciation of (something good or pleasing)
  8. to acknowledge or greet (a person), as when meeting by chance
  9. (intr) mainly US to enter into a recognizance
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Derived Formsrecognizable or recognisable, adjectiverecognizability or recognisability, nounrecognizably or recognisably, adverbrecognizer or recogniser, noun

Word Origin for recognize

C15: from Latin recognoscere to know again, from re- + cognoscere to know, ascertain
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 unrecognized



early 15c., "resume possession of land," back-formation from recognizance, or else from Old French reconoiss-, stem of reconoistre "to know again, identify, recognize," from Latin recognoscere "acknowledge, recall to mind, know again; examine; certify," from re- "again" (see re-) + cognoscere "know" (see cognizance). Meaning "know again, recall or recover the knowledge of, perceive an identity with something formerly known or felt" first recorded 1530s. Related: Recognized; recognizing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper