mid-15c., "knowledge of an event or incident; understanding," from Middle French recognition (15c.) and directly from Latin recognitionem (nominative recognitio) "a reviewing, investigation, examination," noun of action from past participle stem of recognoscere "to acknowledge, know again; examine" (see recognize).
Sense of "formal avowal of knowledge and approval" is from 1590s; especially acknowledgement of the independence of a country by a state formerly exercising sovereignty (1824). Meaning "a knowing again" is from 1798.
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