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Definition of "cognate" [cog•nate]

  • Related by blood; having a common ancestor. (adjective)
  • Related in origin, as certain words in genetically related languages descended from the same ancestral root; for example, English name and Latin nōmen from Indo-European *nŏ̄-men-. (adjective)
  • Related or analogous in nature, character, or function. (adjective)
  • One related by blood or origin with another, especially a person sharing an ancestor with another. (noun)
  • A word related to one in another language. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "cognate" in a sentence
  • "To use the word cognate implies a family-tree model, which is still the most commonly accepted image that we have for the relations of the Indo-European languages: It ain’t perfect, but it runs."
  • "We welcome work from historians or those in cognate disciplines, including gender studies, Native American studies, religious studies, or cultural studies."
  • "The very word "islam" comes from a word cognate to shalom, which means peace in Hebrew [and which sounds less threatening to agnostics and atheists than the Arabic-to-English translation]."