Reconnoiter comes from the French word, reconnoître, and dates to about 1700. The original meaning was “to explore”, but this word is now obsolete. I guess they’ve done all the exploring they plan to do.
The current meaning is to inspect or survey to gain information to be used for military purposes. It is directed at the enemy, so you wouldn’t go reconnoitering on your best friend, but you could scout out the opposing team’s mascot, or something. You might also want to reconnoiter your neighbor’s yard to see what kind of weed spray he’s using, or you can go all out and reconnoiter your ex’s new digs.
The pronunciation is ree-kuh-noi-ter, which is pretty much just how it looks. Common synonyms for reconnoiter are examine, explore, inquire, look, probe and scout.
So next time you’re on the town and looking for a word to amaze your friends with, see what kind of fun sentences you can come up with that involve the word reconnoiter. If they don’t burst out with laughter, your friends might be impressed at your wealth of vocabulary.
What are some other words that have little use in today’s world but are still fun to say?