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 China did not acknowledge the encounter or admit any casualties, although Indian said Chinese soldiers were likely also killed in the fighting. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "Why did India just ban TikTok?," 29 June 2020 Both candidates in recent interviews acknowledge that their priorities would need to shift in light of the coronavirus and calls for police reform. Dallas News, "In this heated North Texas Democratic congressional runoff, it’s about resume vs. life experience," 28 June 2020 With all of these philanthropic achievements under her belt, BET had no choice but to finally acknowledge Beyoncé's good work for the national and international community with this year's Humanitarian Award. Ineye Komonibo,, "Beyoncé Is Getting A Huge Honor At The 2020 BET Awards," 26 June 2020 Many academics using data on the number of police killings acknowledge a lack of data, resulting in underreporting. Molly Stellino, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Police killed more unarmed Black men in 2019 than conservative activist claimed," 24 June 2020 After being serenaded by the quartet, the plants were to be given to healthcare workers, primarily those in the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona, to acknowledge their work on the front lines of the pandemic. Dessi Gomez, Los Angeles Times, "Barcelona’s Liceu theater reopens to a sea of green, with plants replacing patrons," 23 June 2020 Texas was the last of the Confederate states to formally acknowledge the Emancipation Proclamation on June 19, 1865, more than two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the order. Grace Oldham, azcentral, "These Arizona businesses will observe Juneteenth as a company holiday. Here's what you need to know.," 18 June 2020 For nearly a year, the company didn’t apologize or acknowledge the incident further. Marc Bain, Quartz, "Adidas’s inaction on racism starts at the top, employees say," 12 June 2020 Customers must also acknowledge the airline's face mask requirement for both the duration of the flight and in the airport. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, "Airlines Are Adding Health Questions to the Check-In Process," 10 June 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

8 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Acknowledge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 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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