Definition of acquaintance
- They had a long-standing acquaintance.
- had no acquaintance with the facts of the case
- Should auld acquaintance be forgot …
- —Robert Burns
- a casual acquaintance
She ran into an old acquaintance at the grocery store.
our family's close acquaintance with our neighbors
She struck up an acquaintance with a man from the city.
He seemed cold at first, but on closer acquaintance I realized that he was just shy.
While he has some acquaintance with the subject, he is not an expert.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acquaintance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
People often distinguish between an acquaintance and a friend, holding that the former should be used primarily to refer to someone with whom one is not especially close. Many of the earliest uses of acquaintance were in fact in reference to a person with whom one was very close, but the word is now generally reserved for those who are known only slightly.
Acquaintance is often found paired with nodding. Although nodding acquaintance sounds like it describes a person who is known just enough to nod at, it tends to be used instead to refer to a thing or field with which one has a small amount of knowledge or familiarity (and this is the meaning that the phrase has had since its introduction to the language in the early 19th century).
: someone who is known but who is not a close friend
: the state of knowing someone in a personal or social way : the state of knowing someone as an acquaintance
: knowledge about something
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