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From French reconnoître (obsolete spelling of reconnaître), from Latin recognoscere (to recognise). There is also an obsolete 19th-century British English spelling reconnaitre, influenced by the modern French form.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˌɹɛkəˈnɔɪtə/, [ˌɹʷɛkəˈnɔɪ̯tʰə]
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌɹɛkəˈnɔɪtɚ/, [ˌɹˠɛkəˈnɔɪ̯ɾɚ]
  • (file)


reconnoitre (third-person singular simple present reconnoitres, present participle reconnoitring, simple past and past participle reconnoitred)

  1. (transitive, intransitive, military) To perform a reconnaissance (of an area; an enemy position); to scout with the aim of gaining information.
    • 1820, Charles Maturin, Melmoth the Wanderer, volume 1, page 150:
      Not a drop of rain fell; the clouds went portentously off, like ships of war after reconnoitering a strong fort, to return with added strength and fury.
    Our scout will reconnoitre the path ahead of our troops.
  2. (obsolete) To recognise.
    • 1765, Horace Walpole The Correspondence of Horace Walpole, with George Montagu, Esq
      As to my person, it will not be so easy to reconnoitre it, for I question whether any of it will remain




reconnoitre (plural reconnoitres)

  1. An act or instance of reconnoitring.
    The pilot reported the findings of his reconnoitre.

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