Definition of cognizance in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkäɡnəzəns/
(also cognisance)


1 formal Knowledge, awareness, or notice: he was deputed to bring the affair to the cognizance of the board
More example sentences
  • The famous statement ‘unity of empty cognizance suffused with awareness’ refers to your own nature, the essence of your mind.
  • All of the lofty transcendental concepts that are in the higher worlds are meant to become a part of our experience and cognizance.
  • The smokers in the room were most appreciative of her cognisance of their plight!
1.1 Law The action of taking jurisdiction.
Example sentences
  • We, in our argument, have sought to set out some of those factual matters which we would hope are within judicial cognisance.
  • The settled opinion here is, that religion is essentially distinct from civil government, and exempt from its cognizance; that a connection between them is injurious to both.
1.2The action of taking judicial notice (of a fact beyond dispute).
Example sentences
  • Most international human rights instruments subsequently adopted by the United Nations have a basis in the Universal Declaration and give further definition and cognisance to those rights.
  • The law takes no cognisance of carelessness in the abstract.
  • It is bound, of course, to give cognisance to the fact of the order that is being enforced.
2 Heraldry A distinctive device or mark, especially an emblem or badge formerly worn by retainers of a noble house.


take cognizance of

formal Attend to; take account of.
Example sentences
  • Supposing you are currently an important participant in a vital endeavour, you may gain a lot by taking cognisance of what is uttered by those on the sidelines.
  • That being so, the church now formally takes cognizance of what they have been doing, and thus of what they are.
  • The employer needs to take cognisance of whether the goods are new, secondhand, manufactured by the employer or transferred at a discounted price.


Middle English conisance, from Old French conoisance, based on Latin cognoscere 'get to know'. The spelling with g, influenced by Latin, arose in the 15th century and gradually affected the pronunciation.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cog·ni·zance

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