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Middle English aknowen, going back to Old English oncnāwan, acnāwan “to know, recognize, admit, confess,” from a-, on-, prefixal use of on on entry 1 + cnāwan “to know entry 1”
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What made you want to look up acknow? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
to deny responsibility for
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It relates to godfathers.
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