Difference Wiki

Cogitate vs. Think: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on December 20, 2023
"Cogitate" implies a deeper, more deliberate form of thinking, often methodical or analytical, while "think" is a general term for the process of using one's mind to consider or reason about something.

Key Differences

Cogitate involves deep, concentrated thinking, often on a specific issue or problem. It suggests a more intensive and focused mental effort compared to the broader term 'think,' which covers all forms of mental engagement, from casual pondering to serious contemplation.
When one cogitates, there is usually a sense of purposeful and careful consideration, often taking time to ponder over complex issues. On the other hand, to think can occur more spontaneously and can encompass a wide range of mental activities, from daydreaming to decision-making.
The word cogitate often implies a more formal or scholarly approach to thinking, typically involving logic and reasoning. In contrast, think is a more versatile term that applies to various mental processes, including emotional and intuitive forms of thinking.
Cogitation is often associated with a solitary and introspective process, suggesting a deep engagement with one's thoughts. Meanwhile, think can imply both solitary and collaborative processes, ranging from individual reflection to group brainstorming.
Cogitate denotes a specific, often intense form of thinking, while the word think is much more general, encompassing all types of mental processes, from the simplest to the most complex.

Comparison Chart


High, intense mental engagement
Can range from light to intense


Often goal-oriented and analytical
Broad, not necessarily goal-oriented


Generally longer, more sustained
Can be brief or extended


More formal, scholarly
Casual or formal, versatile


Usually solitary and introspective
Can be solitary or collaborative

Cogitate and Think Definitions


To meditate or ruminate over an idea.
The philosopher cogitated on the meaning of existence.


To use the mind to consider, reason, or reflect.
I think about the future often.


To think deeply and carefully about something.
She cogitated on the complex puzzle for hours.


To have a particular belief or idea.
I think he is a great writer.


To ponder or reflect on a specific topic.
He cogitated on the implications of the new policy.


To use the mind actively to form connected ideas.
She thinks deeply about social issues.


To contemplate or deliberate thoroughly.
She cogitated on the best approach to solve the issue.


To consider the possibility or plan of something.
Let's think about a vacation.


To take careful thought or think carefully about; ponder.


To recall or remember something.
I need to think of a good example.


(intransitive) To meditate, to ponder, to think deeply.


To have or formulate in the mind
Think the happiest thought you can think.


(transitive) To consider, to devise.


To reason about or reflect on; ponder
Think how complex language is. Think the matter through.


To engage in continuous thought; to think.
He that calleth a thing into his mind, whether by impression or recordation, cogitateth and considereth, and he that employeth the faculty of his fancy also cogitateth.


To think over; to plan.
He . . . is our witness, how we both day and night, revolving in our minds, did cogitate nothing more than how to satisfy the parts of a good pastor.


Consider carefully and deeply; reflect upon; turn over in one's mind


Use or exercise the mind or one's power of reason in order to make inferences, decisions, or arrive at a solution or judgments;
I've been thinking all day and getting nowhere


To engage in serious, analytical thought.
The scientist cogitated on the experimental data.


Is cogitate a common word in daily use?

Cogitate is less common and more formal than think.

What does cogitate mean?

Cogitate refers to the act of thinking deeply and carefully about something.

Can cogitate and think be used interchangeably?

Not always, as cogitate implies a deeper level of thought.

What does think mean?

Think refers to the process of using one's mind to consider or reason about something.

Does cogitate always imply a solitary activity?

While often solitary, cogitate can also occur in a collaborative setting.

Is think used in both casual and formal contexts?

Yes, think is versatile and used in both contexts.

Can think be used for emotional reasoning?

Yes, think can encompass emotional and rational reasoning.

Can cogitate be used in a negative sense?

Yes, it can imply overthinking or unnecessary complexity.

What is an example of using cogitate in a sentence?

"After hearing the news, she took some time to cogitate on her next steps."

What is an example of using think in a sentence?

"I think I'll go for a walk to clear my head."

Is cogitate a verb or noun?

Cogitate is a verb.

What is the noun form of cogitate?

Cogitation is the noun form.

Can think refer to quick decision-making?

Yes, think can refer to both quick and prolonged mental processes.

Is think ever used in a negative context?

Yes, it can be used negatively in contexts like "overthink."

What are synonyms for think?

Consider, reflect, reason.

Is it important to teach children to think critically?

Absolutely, critical thinking is a vital skill.

How can I improve my ability to cogitate?

Practice focused thinking, mindfulness, and engage in challenging intellectual tasks.

Can children cogitate?

Yes, children can engage in cogitative processes suitable to their age.

What are synonyms for cogitate?

Ponder, contemplate, deliberate.

Is think a verb or noun?

Think is primarily a verb, but can also be a noun in phrases like "have a think."
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons