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cognate Syllabification: cog·nate
Pronunciation: /ˈkäɡˌnāt/

Definition of cognate in English:


1 Linguistics (Of a word) having the same linguistic derivation as another; from the same original word or root (e.g., English is, German ist, Latin est, from Indo-European esti).
Example sentences
  • English mother and German Mutter are cognate words.
  • There is an interesting but short section on the local adaptive value of cultural rules including dialects and cognate words.
  • However, many linguists think he chose cognate terms too broadly to bolster his reconstruction.
2 formal Related; connected: cognate subjects such as physics and chemistry
More example sentences
  • His book deals with memes and other cognate subjects less frivolously and with much more academic rigour than I can muster.
  • What we need is a conceptual ‘map’ that allows us to think through where ‘animation’ lies in relation to cognate subject areas.
  • Interferences with the amenities of land and personal injuries arising during the use of land are cognate subjects.
2.1Related to or descended from a common ancestor. Compare with agnate.
Example sentences
  • The separation of childbearing from domesticity leads to a need for extended families, which are primarily cognate kin groups.


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1 Linguistics A cognate word.
Example sentences
  • It's a very old word, with cognates in most Germanic languages.
  • The word neshama is a cognate of nesheema, which means literally ‘breath.’
  • More than a dozen words and cognates are employed throughout the Old Testament for beauty.
2 Law A blood relative.
Example sentences
  • All distinction between agnates and cognates in matters of succession had been abolished at the very time when the great collection of Roman law had been assembled and codified.
  • A kin group usually includes cognates of all degrees and godparents.


Example sentences
  • Decisions relating to the two acts are often given effect in Excise and Customs Tariff Proposals that are tabled cognately in Parliament.
  • Second and cognately, there's the Paradox of Analysis: Conceptual analysis is supposed to be somehow informative or enlightening.
  • Hypocrisy is the pretension to qualities which one does not possess, or, more cognately, the putting forward of a false appearance of virtue or religion.
Example sentences
  • This is a question related to the cognateness of a faculty's programs and mission, which is discussed briefly below.
  • Using the same evolutionist principles of cognateness and continuity, he attempted to reconstruct a common Ur-Germanic mythology.
  • Much rather may we hold with scholars like Delitzsch and Kittel, that the relation is one of cognateness, not of derivation.


Early 17th century: from Latin cognatus, from co- 'together with' + natus 'born'.

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