[ rek-uhg-nahyz ]
See synonyms for: recognizerecognizedrecognizesrecognizing on

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.

  1. to perceive as existing or true; realize: to be the first to recognize a fact.

  2. to acknowledge as the person entitled to speak at a particular time: The Speaker recognized the congressman from Maine.

  3. to acknowledge formally as entitled to treatment as a political unit: The United States promptly recognized Israel.

  4. 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.

  5. to acknowledge or treat as valid: to recognize a claim.

  6. to acknowledge acquaintance with, as by a greeting, handshake, etc.

  7. to show appreciation of (achievement, service, merit, etc.), as by some reward, public honor, or the like.

  8. Law. to acknowledge (an illegitimate child) as one's own.

  9. 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.

Origin of recognize

First recorded in 1425–75; recogn(ition) + -ize; replacing late Middle English racunnysen, recognisen, from Old French reconuiss-, stem of reconuistre, from Latin recognōscere, equivalent to re- re- + cognōscere “to know1 ”; see cognition
  • Also especially British, rec·og·nise .

Other words for recognize

Other words from recognize

  • rec·og·niz·a·ble [rek-uhg-nahy-zuh-buhl, rek-uhg-nahy-], /ˈrɛk əgˌnaɪ zə bəl, ˌrɛk əgˈnaɪ-/, adjective
  • rec·og·niz·a·bil·i·ty, noun
  • rec·og·niz·a·bly, adverb
  • rec·og·niz·er, noun
  • non·rec·og·nized, adjective
  • pre·rec·og·nize, verb (used with object), pre·rec·og·nized, pre·rec·og·niz·ing.
  • qua·si-rec·og·nized, adjective
  • un·rec·og·niz·a·ble, adjective
  • un·rec·og·niz·a·bly, adverb
  • un·rec·og·nized, adjective
  • un·rec·og·niz·ing, adjective
  • well-rec·og·nized, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use recognize in a sentence

  • For nature's beauties are too well recognized to remain the exclusive property of the first chance lover.

    The Soul of the Far East | Percival Lowell

British Dictionary definitions for recognize



/ (ˈrɛkəɡˌnaɪz) /

  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

  1. to give formal acknowledgment of the status or legality of (a government, an accredited representative, etc)

  2. mainly US and Canadian to grant (a person) the right to speak in a deliberative body, debate, etc

  3. to give a token of thanks for (a service rendered, etc)

  4. to make formal acknowledgment of (a claim, etc)

  5. to show approval or appreciation of (something good or pleasing)

  6. to acknowledge or greet (a person), as when meeting by chance

  7. (intr) mainly US to enter into a recognizance

Origin of recognize

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

Derived forms of recognize

  • recognizable or recognisable, adjective
  • recognizability or recognisability, noun
  • recognizably or recognisably, adverb
  • recognizer or recogniser, noun

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