- 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.”