cognoscente
n. a person with superior, usually specialized knowledge or highly refined taste; a connoisseur.

I’d been vaguely aware of the existence of this word, but never heard it really used or pronounced (thus I thought it was something like “cog no sen tee” instead of “kon yuh shen tee”). Seeing as how I can never remember how to spell “connoisseur,” this may be just the word I’m looking for to describe a specialist. When I want to be a snobbish asshole about beer, I can call myself a “cognoscente” and not have to worry about misspelling.

The word comes from Anglo-French (post- Norman invasion) by way of Latin cognoscere, or “to get to know or understand,” which is itself a combination of the Latin prefix co-, or “together,” and gnoscere, or “to know.”

§1476 · October 25, 2006 · Tags: ·

1 Comment to “Wednesday’s Word: cognoscente”

  1. Ellen says:

    I’ve seen “cognoscenti” before, but on reflection realize it’s been in a group/plural context and this is the individual context (like lasagna v. lasagne)

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