from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To know to be something that has been perceived before.
  • transitive verb To know or identify from past experience or knowledge.
  • transitive verb To perceive or show acceptance of the validity or reality of.
  • transitive verb To permit to address a meeting.
  • transitive verb To accept officially the national status of as a new government.
  • transitive verb To show awareness of; approve of or appreciate.
  • transitive verb To admit the acquaintance of, as by salutation.
  • transitive verb Law To enter into a recognizance.
  • transitive verb Biology To exhibit recognition for (an antigen or a substrate, for example).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To cognize again.
  • To know (the object) again; recall or recover the knowledge of; perceive the identity of with something formerly known or in the mind.
  • To avow or admit a knowledge of, with approval or sanction; acknowledge or accept formally: as, to recognize one as ambassador; to recognize a government as an independent sovereignty or as a belligerent.
  • To indicate one's acquaintance with (a person) by a salute: as, to pass one without recognizing him.
  • To indicate appreciation of: as, to recognize merit.
  • To review; reëxamine; take cognizance of anew.
  • To acknowledge; admit or confess as an obligation or duty.
  • =Syn. 2–4. Recognize, Acknowledge. The essential difference between these words lies in the difference between letting in to one's own knowledge (recognize) and letting out to other people's knowledge (acknowledge). Hence the opposite of recognize is disown or some kindred word; that of acknowledge is conceal or deny. To recognize an obligation and to acknowledge an obligation differ precisely in this way. The preacher may be able to make a man recognize, even if he cannot make him acknowledge his need of moral improvement. See acknowledge.
  • In law, to enter an obligation of record before a proper tribunal: as, A. B. recognized in the sum of twenty dollars. Also spelled recognise.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb (Law) To enter an obligation of record before a proper tribunal.
  • transitive verb To know again; to perceive the identity of, with a person or thing previously known; to recover or recall knowledge of.
  • transitive verb To avow knowledge of; to allow that one knows; to consent to admit, hold, or the like; to admit with a formal acknowledgment
  • transitive verb To acknowledge acquaintance with, as by salutation, bowing, or the like.
  • transitive verb To show appreciation of.
  • transitive verb obsolete To review; to reëxamine.
  • transitive verb obsolete To reconnoiter.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To cognize again.
  • verb transitive To match something or someone which one currently perceives to a memory of some previous encounter with the same entity.
  • verb transitive To acknowledge the existence or legality of something; treat as worthy of consideration or valid.
  • verb transitive To acknowledge or consider as something.
  • verb transitive To realise or discover the nature of something; apprehend quality in; realise or admit that.
  • verb transitive To give an award.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb show approval or appreciation of
  • verb express greetings upon meeting someone
  • verb be fully aware or cognizant of
  • verb perceive to be the same
  • verb exhibit recognition for (an antigen or a substrate)
  • verb express obligation, thanks, or gratitude for
  • verb detect with the senses
  • verb grant credentials to
  • verb accept (someone) to be what is claimed or accept his power and authority


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English recognisen, to resume possession of land, alteration (influenced by Medieval Latin recognizāre, to recognize) of Old French reconoistre, reconoiss-, to know again, from Latin recognōscere : re-, re- + cognōscere, to get to know; see gnō- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From re- + cognize

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin recognoscere, first attested in the 16th century. Displaced native English acknow ("to recognize, to perceive as", compare German erkennen).


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