ac·​knowl·​edge | \ik-ˈnä-lij, 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


admit, agree, allow, concede, confess, fess (up), grant, own (up to)



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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The Taliban did not claim responsibility for the attack, but acknowledged it in a message on its official Telegram channel. Dennis Romero And Reuters /, NBC News, "U.S. service member killed, 2 wounded in 'insider attack' in Afghanistan," 8 July 2018 One of the benefits of contributing to their Indiegogo campaign and a way for Lafferty and Colletti to acknowledge and honor their OTH fans through this new project is with the Live Watch experiences being offered. Kristen O'brien,, "One Tree Hill's James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti Reunite for a Show About Struggling Actors," 12 July 2018 But European negotiators are relieved that Theresa May seems finally to have acknowledged that Brexit implies trade-offs. The Economist, "The EU digests Britain’s new Brexit plan," 11 July 2018 Every team hasn’t always supported the LGBTQ initiative so to be in any organization that’s going to take the time to have a Pride Night and to acknowledge their players and employees and their fans is really important. Kelli Stacy,, "Connecticut Sun Prepare To Host Pride Night," 10 July 2018 While Freeman’s professional accomplishments have been well documented, the celebration was also an opportunity to acknowledge his personal successes as a devoted father and husband. Elizabeth Myong, Houston Chronicle, "TSU debate coach’s legacy celebrated at his 99th birthday party," 1 July 2018 While State Department officials earlier acknowledged that some allies will get waivers to continue importing Iranian oil, Pompeo seemed to strike a harder line Tuesday. Matthew Lee, The Seattle Times, "Pompeo talks tough on Iran while visiting the Emirates," 10 July 2018 Provide a factual rebuttal: While owners should acknowledge a person's feelings, there are some issues where a factual rebuttal is necessary. Damian J. Troise, USA TODAY, "How should businesses respond to bad reviews? Tips to combat negative social media," 7 July 2018 Jenkins' complaint acknowledges a close relationship between the Indie Party and his campaign, saying the company retained Arno in April to gather more than enough signatures to make the ballot in Texas. Patrick Svitek, star-telegram, "After failing to crash Texas’ Senate race, independent candidate alleges Cruz campaign derailed him," 7 July 2018

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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Statistics for acknowledge

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for acknowledge

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

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More Definitions for acknowledge



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, 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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