The Meaning of Cognizant: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of cognizant? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word cognizant, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

What does the word cognizant mean?

According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and Collins English Dictionary, the word cognizant is an adjective that refers to someone who is aware, perceptive, and has knowledge of a situation, thing, or surroundings. Someone who is cognizant has acute perception, and is understanding of their surroundings. The word cognizant has three syllables – cog-ni-zant, and the pronunciation of cognizant is ˈkɑgnəzənt. Cognizant is also the name of a company, Cognizant Corporation, headquartered in Chennai, India. They have been featured in Forbes and Fortune Magazine. This word can also be spelled cognisant. 

The word cognizant can also be used in a legal context to refer to legal cognizance, thich is power, authority, and ability of a judge to determine a particular legal matter in court. They will take the serious charge and the plea of the defendant into account and make a decision based on all of the evidence presented depending on their jurisdiction.

Many different languages also contain words that mean cognizant. You may notice that many of these words look similar to one another. This is likely because they have a common origin. Often, languages that have a common language of origin, like Latin or Greek, will contain many cognates, which are words that look, sound, and mean similar things. This list of translations for the word cognizant is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Turkish: haberdar‎, bilen‎
  •  Swedish: medveten‎
  •  Bulgarian: осведомен‎, наясно‎
  •  Finnish: tietoinen‎
  •  Mandarin: 認識到的‎, 认识到的‎ (rènshi dào de), 察知的‎ (cházhī de), 了解的‎ (liǎojiě de)
  •  Russian: осозна́вший‎, осведомлённый‎
  •  Spanish: consciente‎
  •  French: conscient‎

What is the origin of the word cognizant?

According to Etymonline, the word cognizant has been used since 1744. This comes from the word cognizance, from the Middle English conisance and Anglo-French conysance. This comes from the Old French conoissance, which is now the Modern French connaissance. These come from the past participle of conoistre and the Latin cognoscere meaning to know. This comes from the root com meaning together and the root gnoscere meaning to know, from Proto-Indo-European roots. 

How can the word cognizant be used in a sentence?

There are many different ways that the word cognizant can be used in both British and American English. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions. You can also try making flashcards and quizzes to test your knowledge. Below are several examples of cognizant to get you started. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today!

The other crew members were cognizant of the fact that their captain wasn’t feeling well, and tried to take up the slack. They did extra chores and kept his cabin quiet so that he could get some rest, and the chef on board made him some special soup and tea to heal him quickly.

The patient heroine was cognizant of the speed limit, but needed to go faster if she was going to save the day. She needed to get to the scene of the crime before the villain got away. 

The brand executives were not cognizant of the fact that their employees did not want to go back into the office to have in-person meetings. They were perfectly happy and more productive working from home. Employees made a whole animated creation for an ad from home while the agency exec’s time was spent sitting around from Jan. to June.

The parent company had its headquarters in New Jersey near Princeton University, but during their period of fast growth they were cognizant of the fact that they may have to move to San Francisco for the connections they need in tech and financial services. 

What are synonyms and antonyms of cognizant?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word cognizant. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are very useful English grammatical devices to know because they can help you to avoid repeating yourself as well as to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word cognizant is provided by Thesaurus

  •  aware
  •  apprehensive
  •  conscious
  •  informed
  •  judicious
  •  knowledgeable
  •  observant
  •  acquainted
  •  alive
  •  au courant
  •  awake
  •  conversant
  •  down with
  •  familiar
  •  grounded
  •  hep to
  •  hip to
  •  in on
  •  in the know
  •  in the picture
  •  knowing
  •  on the beam
  •  on to
  •  perceptive
  •  plugged in
  •  savvy
  •  sensible
  •  sentient
  •  tuned in
  •  up on
  •  versed
  •  wise to
  •  with it
  •  witting

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of the word cognizant. These are called antonyms. Antonyms are also useful to know if you are trying to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  out cold
  •  mooning
  •  uninstructed
  •  unfamiliar
  •  unconscious
  •  not cognizant
  •  deaf to
  •  blind
  •  out to lunch
  •  unwitting
  •  deaf
  •  inconversant
  •  insensible
  •  oblivious
  •  nescient
  •  doped
  •  unconcerned
  •  negligent
  •  unsuspecting
  •  unmindful
  •  inattentive
  •  unacquainted
  •  heedless
  •  spacey
  •  careless
  •  unaware
  •  out of it
  •  uninformed
  •  daydreaming
  •  unenlightened
  •  forgetful
  •  unknowing
  •  caught napping
  •  incognizant
  •  ignorant
  •  in a daze
  •  not all there

Overall, the word cognizant means having an awareness of surroundings. Someone who is cognizant is perceptive of both their location and the people around them. This is the opposite of someone who is unaware or who has their head in the clouds. This word comes from the Latin cognōscere which means to know. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today!


  1. Cognizant definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  2. cognizant: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  3. COGNIZANT Synonyms: 43 Synonyms & Antonyms for COGNIZANT | Thesaurus
  4. UNAWARE Synonyms: 45 Synonyms & Antonyms for UNAWARE | Thesaurus 
  5. cognizant | Origin and meaning of cognizant | Online Etymology Dictionary