Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To know to be something that has been perceived before: recognize a face.
  • transitive v. To know or identify from past experience or knowledge: recognize hostility.
  • transitive v. To perceive or show acceptance of the validity or reality of: recognizes the concerns of the tenants.
  • transitive v. To permit to address a meeting: The club's president recognized the new member.
  • transitive v. To accept officially the national status of as a new government.
  • transitive v. To show awareness of; approve of or appreciate: recognize services rendered.
  • transitive v. To admit the acquaintance of, as by salutation: recognize an old friend with a cheerful greeting.
  • transitive v. Law To enter into a recognizance.
  • transitive v. Biology To exhibit recognition for (an antigen or a substrate, for example).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • To cognize again.

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

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

Etymologies

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 knows.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin recognoscere, first attested in the 16th century. Displaced native English acknow ("to recognize, to perceive as", compare German erkennen). (Wiktionary)
From re- + cognize (Wiktionary)

Examples

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