'Recce': Definition, Meaning and Examples

By Amy Gilmore, updated on May 8, 2023

Are you wondering what 'recce' means? If so, you are not alone. English language learners and native speakers alike are confused by the word. I can help, though!

This guide will find the meaning, definition, usage examples, and why this word confuses many people.

Are you in a hurry? 

Here is a quick answer: 

  • 'Recce' is a noun derivative of the word reconnaissance. 
  • Reconnaissance means an initial survey of something used to gain critical information, specifically for a security project or military mission. 

You have the short answer. However, there is a lot more to learn about this word. So, keep reading!

'Recce' Definition: What Does 'Recce' Mean?

As I mentioned above, 'recce' is a shortened version of the word reconnaissance, which according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is a:

  • A preliminary review of an area used to gain intel

It can also mean:

  • A survey of an area used to gain vital information for a mission
  • A stealth mission before a larger potentially confrontational mission

Synonyms of 'Recce'

  • Espionage
  • Surveillance
  • Spy
  • Bug
  • Tap
  • Wiretap
  • Counterintelligence
  • Cloak-and-dagger
  • Report back
  • Survey
  • Inspect
  • Recon

Other Words and Phrases Related to 'Recce'

Here are a few other words used with the above term.

  • Soldier
  • Military
  • Mission
  • Intel
  • Treason
  • Treachery
  • Attack
  • Arm
  • Army
  • Navy
  • Marine Corp
  • Airforce
  • Commander
  • Territory
  • Terrain
  • Turf
  • Exploratory
  • Map
  • Drone
  • Image
  • Listen
  • Observe

Origin of the Word 'Recce'

'Recce' is a relatively new word in the English language, with the first instances of it appearing in military writings in 1941. The term originated as a slang term used by some military members for reconnaissance.

Reconnaissance is a much older word with documented uses dating back to the mid-to-late 1700s. It comes from the French word reconnoiter, the archaic word reconoistre, meaning to recognize.

How to Use 'Recce'

As mentioned above, 'recce' is a relatively new word. It is not frequently used.

So, how do you know when and how to use it?

The word is military slang and is typically used as a noun to refer to military missions, so:

  • Use 'recce' when referring to information received from a military operation that takes place before a larger mission

For example, you might say:

Let me look over the 'recce' before we decide whether to attack from the east or west side of the enemy's camp. 

While the dictionary classifies it as a noun, people sometimes use the word as a verb, so:

  • You can use 'recce' to collect data before an operation.

For example, you could say:

 We will 'recce' the area before the mission to gain valuable intel to help us prevent casualties and complete the task with as little damage to the area as possible. 

When to Use 'Recce'

Many people outside the military community are unfamiliar with the term 'recce.' After all, that is likely why you are here. So, if you are a home builder, you would not want to tell someone:

  • We will 'recce' the land before building your house in late summer.

That would likely confuse the person. Instead, save this term for communications with people who will probably understand the meaning, like current or former Airforce, Army, Marine Corps, or Navy members.

For example, you could ask a soldier friend:

  • How much danger is involved when you 'recce' an area?

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Recce'

Pronouncing words that are not frequently used can be very confusing because you do not hear them often, and this word has strange pronunciation.

So, here is a pronunciation guide to help:


While we are on the topic, I will also tell you how to pronounce reconnaissance.

  • To pronounce reconnaissance, use this phonetic spelling:


Examples of 'Recce' Used in a Sentence

Now you know the definition, how and when to use the word, and the correct pronunciation. So, before you go, review the sample sentences below:

  • Our commander told us to be careful when we recce the area because the group has guards at every corner and random locations around the border.
  • Please show me the recce details you gathered during the preliminary mission. We need them to develop a plan of attack.
  • What does the recce show about the location's terrain? Is it mountainous or flat? Do we have many obstacles to avoid? How difficult will it be for us to navigate the region?
  • After you recce the area, please report back to me immediately. We have to get this mission underway as quickly as possible if we are going to catch the enemy off guard.
  • Is the recce operation essential? We have been observing the group and listening to their conversations via wiretaps for ten years.
  • The recce must confirm where the lookout stations are and how many people guard the compound. Without it, too many unknown variables could put our troops in danger.
  • Did you recce the area after the last mission? I know we have that recce information available, but we will likely need to resurvey the site to confirm that there are no new dangers.
  • How many special ops do you need to recce the target? I want to ensure you have enough personnel to complete the job but keep in mind that the more troops we have in the area, the more likely the enemy will spot us before the critical mission.

Final Advice on the Meaning of 'Recce'

Due to 'recce' being a relatively new word and not many people outside the military community using it, many are unsure of its meaning. You should have a firm grasp on it now, but here is a quick recap to be sure you know the definition and how to use it: 

  • 'Recce' is a military slang term for reconnaissance.
  • You can use the word as a noun or verb.
  • It means information collected about a target before an operation or to collect vital mission data before a strike.

If you ever need a refresher, you can always come back here to review this guide. You can also look over the other posts here to learn how to use other confusing words and phrases.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

Add new comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WritingTips.org Newsletter
Receive information on
new articles posted, important topics, and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.