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or cognisance

[kog-nuh-zuh ns, kon-uh-] /ˈkɒg nə zəns, ˈkɒn ə-/
awareness, realization, or knowledge; notice; perception:
The guests took cognizance of the snide remark.
  1. judicial notice as taken by a court in dealing with a cause.
  2. the right of taking jurisdiction, as possessed by a court.
  3. acknowledgment; admission, as a plea admitting the fact alleged in the declaration.
the range or scope of knowledge, observation, etc.:
Such understanding is beyond his cognizance.
Heraldry. a device by which a person or a person's servants or property can be recognized; badge.
Origin of cognizance
1250-1300; Middle English conisa(u)nce < Middle French con(o)is(s)ance, equivalent to conois(tre) to know (< Latin cognōscere; see cognition) + -ance -ance; forms with -g- (< Latin) from the 16th century
Related forms
noncognizance, noun
self-cognizance, noun
1. note, heed, attention, regard, scrutiny. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cognizance
Historical Examples
  • Moreover, the test in question takes no cognizance of persons who have no power of control.

    Courts and Criminals Arthur Train
  • A searching by, or cognizance of, a magistrate, or other authorized officer.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • I hope we are friends of that household, dearer to me than the dwellings of kings (not that I have cognizance of many).

    Bud Neil Munro
  • The Chinese who have gone have been with Chinese cognizance, but not under Chinese protection.

    Peking Dust Ellen N. La Motte
  • There were influences at work in Delgratz of which even you had no cognizance.

  • The wiser they are in intelligence the less perception of cognizance they have.

  • Perhaps because an honestly written moral law would have to take some cognizance of rights as well as duties.

    The Son of a Servant August Strindberg
  • As Smith had no wife, this could not have been his cognizance.

    Captain John Smith Charles Dudley Warner
  • If the Baron took a like cognizance of all my countrymen who came to New Orleans, he was a busy man indeed.

    The Crossing Winston Churchill
  • Some cried out that they had had no cognizance of any plot to deceive.

    Pabo, The Priest Sabine Baring-Gould
British Dictionary definitions for cognizance


/ˈkɒɡnɪzəns; ˈkɒnɪ-/
knowledge; acknowledgment
take cognizance of, to take notice of; acknowledge, esp officially
the range or scope of knowledge or perception
  1. the right of a court to hear and determine a cause or matter
  2. knowledge of certain facts upon which the court must act without requiring proof
  3. (mainly US) confession
(heraldry) a distinguishing badge or bearing
Word Origin
C14: from Old French conoissance, from conoistre to know, from Latin cognōscere to learn; see cognition
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
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Word Origin and History for cognizance

mid-14c., from Anglo-French conysance "recognition," later, "knowledge," from Old French conoissance "acquaintance, recognition; knowledge, wisdom" (Modern French connaissance), from past participle of conoistre "to know," from Latin cognoscere "to get to know, recognize," from com- "together" (see co-) + gnoscere "to know" (see notice (n.)). The -g- was restored in English spelling 15c. and has gradually affected the pronunciation, which was always "con-." The old pronunciation lingered longest in legal use.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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