ac·​knowl·​edge | \ ik-ˈnä-lij How to pronounce acknowledge (audio) , ak- \
acknowledged; acknowledging

Definition of acknowledge

transitive verb

1 : to recognize the rights, authority, or status of They acknowledged him as their leader.
2 : to disclose knowledge of or agreement with She readily acknowledged her mistake.
3a : to express gratitude or obligation for acknowledge a gift
b : to take notice of failed to acknowledge my greeting
c : to make known the receipt of acknowledge a letter
4 : to recognize as genuine or valid acknowledge a debt

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Synonyms & Antonyms for acknowledge



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acknowledge, admit, own, avow, confess mean to disclose against one's will or inclination. acknowledge implies the disclosing of something that has been or might be concealed. acknowledged an earlier peccadillo admit implies reluctance to disclose, grant, or concede and refers usually to facts rather than their implications. admitted the project was over budget own implies acknowledging something in close relation to oneself. must own I know little about computers avow implies boldly declaring, often in the face of hostility, what one might be expected to be silent about. avowed that he was a revolutionary confess may apply to an admission of a weakness, failure, omission, or guilt. confessed a weakness for sweets

Examples of acknowledge in a Sentence

They acknowledged that the decision was a mistake. Do you acknowledge that you caused this mess? They readily acknowledged their mistake. She won't acknowledge responsibility for her actions. He quickly acknowledges all of my e-mails when he receives them. Please acknowledge receipt of this letter. She acknowledged the gift with a card. She acknowledged his greeting with a smile.
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Recent Examples on the Web Chinese social media users were offended that the group did not acknowledge the sacrifices of Chinese soldiers who fought for North Korea. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "Xi Jinping’s new economic strategy for China: ‘Dual circulation’ or doublespeak?," 15 Oct. 2020 The show itself refused to acknowledge this for quite a while, making all of its promos and teaser trailers solely focused on Clare's journey. Martha Sorren,, "The Bachelorette Promo May Have Just Revealed When Tayshia Takes Over The Season," 13 Oct. 2020 To make matters worse, Hillary Clinton insists that the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris ticket not acknowledge defeat. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: Surviving the pandemic, 2020 election, Amtrak routes," 9 Oct. 2020 The closure order drew criticism from O'odham activists and elders, who believe the order did not acknowledge the rights of tribal members to access their sacred sites at Organ Pipe. Rafael Carranza, The Arizona Republic, "Tempers flare as protesters block highway near border wall construction near Lukeville," 6 Oct. 2020 Nintendo didn’t acknowledge the problem much until July, 2019. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "A Literal Child and His Mom Sue Nintendo Over ‘Joy-Con Drift’," 5 Oct. 2020 Bock knew that some of his patients didn’t immediately acknowledge their tanning habits. Lisa Sanders, New York Times, "She Craved Salt and Felt Nauseated for Months. What Was Wrong?," 30 Sep. 2020 Senate President Page Cortez and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder refused Friday to officially acknowledge the near-bankruptcy of the trust fund in a state forecasting meeting. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Full reopening, firefighter lawsuit, sidewalk extension: News from around our 50 states," 28 Sep. 2020 Much of the American left has long refused to acknowledge the horrors of the dictatorship. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Florida and the Cuban Vote," 27 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acknowledge.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of acknowledge

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for acknowledge

ac- (in acknow "to confess knowledge of," going back to 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") + knowledge

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Time Traveler for acknowledge

Time Traveler

The first known use of acknowledge was in the 15th century

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Statistics for acknowledge

Last Updated

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Acknowledge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for acknowledge


How to pronounce acknowledge (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of acknowledge

: to say that you accept or do not deny the truth or existence of (something)
: to regard or describe (someone or something) as having or deserving a particular status
: to tell or show someone that something (such as a letter or message) has been received


ac·​knowl·​edge | \ ik-ˈnä-lij How to pronounce acknowledge (audio) , ak- \
acknowledged; acknowledging

Kids Definition of acknowledge

1 : to admit the truth or existence of They acknowledged their mistake.
2 : to make known that something has been received or noticed He refuses to acknowledge my generosity.
3 : to recognize the rights or authority of They acknowledged her as captain.
4 : to express thanks or appreciation for acknowledge a gift


transitive verb
acknowledged; acknowledging

Legal Definition of acknowledge

1 : to indicate recognition and acceptance of the power of taxation in the general and state governments is acknowledged to be concurrentMcCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 316 (1819)
2a : to show by word or act that one has knowledge of and accepts responsibility for (a duty, obligation, or indebtedness)
b : to admit paternity of will acknowledge the child as his — compare filiate
3 : to make known to a sender or giver the receipt of (what has been sent or given) or the fact of (one's having received what has been sent or given) acknowledge receipt of a letter
4 : to recognize as genuine so as to give validity : avow or admit in legal form the execution of any such power of attorney shall be acknowledged before one of the officersU.S. Code

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