Reconnaissance is checking out a situation before taking action. Often it’s used as a military term, but you could also do reconnaissance on a new employee before you hire her, or a resort before you take a vacation.
Reconnaissance is a noun, and it technically means “the act of reconnoitering.” Whoa. Never heard that word before? Reconnoitering is just a fancy way of saying that you’re checking something out — sometimes in a sneaky way. If you like a girl in your Spanish class, you might ask a friend to do some reconnaissance to find out what she’s like. The word comes from the French reconnaître, which means “recognize.”