acknowledge

verb

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

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.
3
a
: 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
Choose the Right Synonym for acknowledge

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Rather than trying to defend the many indefensible parts of our past, history classes should acknowledge the essential humanity and many contributions of all Americans, especially those who have long been mischaracterized by textbooks. Jeff Raikes, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 After the game, referee Ed Molloy, the crew chief for the game, acknowledged the incorrect call in a pool report. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 Kempczinski acknowledges that prices have increased due to inflation and that there are customers who have stopped eating at McDonald's because of this. Gabe Hauari, The Courier-Journal, 23 Feb. 2024 These are processes that Woon acknowledges would take some time and coordination to work out while protecting the confidentiality of Medicaid applicants' information. Hansi Lo Wang, NPR, 23 Feb. 2024 The city-state’s government officials awarded one of their many business grants to the singer earlier this week acknowledging efforts to persuade her to perform there and the potential economic boost her concerts would bring, Reuters reported. Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times, 22 Feb. 2024 Other staff from that period acknowledged that the process, by necessity, takes time to ensure the proper descendants receive the remains. Ellen Wexler, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Feb. 2024 For now, the organization is dedicated to ensuring that by 2027, 50 percent of contemporary TV and film acknowledges climate change. Melissa Jun Rowley, Rolling Stone, 22 Feb. 2024 Additional award recipients included Colman Domingo, who was named best actor for his lead role in Rustin, and best supporting actor recipient Sterling K. Brown, who in his speech acknowledged the LGBTQ+ community for recognizing his portrayal of a newly out gay Black man in American Fiction. Brande Victorian, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'acknowledge.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near acknowledge

Cite this Entry

“Acknowledge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acknowledge. Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

acknowledge

verb
ac·​knowl·​edge ik-ˈnäl-ij How to pronounce acknowledge (audio)
ak-
acknowledged; acknowledging
1
: to recognize the rights or authority of
2
: to admit the truth or existence of
3
: to make known that something has been received or noticed
acknowledge a letter

Legal Definition

acknowledge

transitive verb
ac·​knowl·​edge
acknowledged; acknowledging
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)
2
a
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on acknowledge

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!