acquaintance

noun
ac·​quain·​tance | \ ə-ˈkwān-tᵊn(t)s How to pronounce acquaintance (audio) \

Definition of acquaintance

1a : the state of being acquainted They had a long-standing acquaintance.
b : personal knowledge : familiarity had no acquaintance with the facts of the case
2a : the persons with whom one is acquainted Should auld acquaintance be forgot …— Robert Burns
b : a person whom one knows but who is not a particularly close friend a casual acquaintance

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Other Words from acquaintance

acquaintanceship \ ə-​ˈkwān-​tᵊn(t)s-​ˌship How to pronounce acquaintance (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for acquaintance

Synonyms

Antonyms

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What's the difference between friends and acquaintances?

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).

Examples of acquaintance in a Sentence

But Francis later found out that the dinner acquaintance who sweet-talked him got a thank-you check for three thousand pounds. — Julian Barnes, New Yorker, 20 Sept. 1993 But all those qualities are so wrapped up in others that one could hardly ask for two men who are, at first acquaintance, more different. — Peter Garrison, Air & Space, October/November 1991 A classical education, or at any rate a very extensive acquaintance with English literature, ancient and modern, appears to me quite indispensable for the person who would do any just to your clergyman; and I think I may boast myself to be, with all possible vanity, the most unlearned and uninformed female who ever dared to be an authoress. — Jane Austen, letter, 11 Dec. 1815 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Blinston also is accused of killing Sandra George, 82, and an acquaintance, Vicky Cline, 57, both of Oroville. NBC News, "California tree trimmer charged in deadly throat-slashings," 13 May 2021 An acquaintance, whom the cylinder was meant for, died the previous night. Arunabh Saikia, Quartz, "As Covid-19 reaches rural India, “people are dropping dead like flies”," 28 Apr. 2021 An old acquaintance of Cement Head’s remembers fashioning knives out of aluminum from the license plate shop. STAT, "States with springtime Covid-19 surges appear to have turned a corner," 14 Apr. 2021 The acquaintance then called police around 7:30 p.m. to conduct a wellness check on Iacobucci, according to the report. Christine Dempsey, courant.com, "Home health aide, two friends, schemed to rob Rocky Hill man found dead in his home, documents say," 7 Apr. 2021 An acquaintance of Montgomery’s, in a lengthy Facebook post, said Montgomery was with him and several others at the bar following an Iron Bowl party. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Ex-police officer Jason McIntosh pleads guilty to Megan Montgomery’s Mountain Brook murder," 31 Mar. 2021 Eight days later an acquaintance of his mother, Burnetta F. Page, took him in as a foster child. New York Times, "Alvin Sykes, 64, Self-Taught Legal Defender of Civil Rights, Dies," 29 Mar. 2021 Yet most people in the United States know somebody – maybe a friend or acquaintance – who believes the narrative Trump pushed over the past five years. cleveland, "New study examines how Donald Trump used Twitter to craft an alternate reality for his followers," 17 Jan. 2021 One rousing way to observe the holiday is to hook up with your partner, friend, or acquaintance in a festive way. Molly Longman, refinery29.com, "Hot Labor Day Sex Tips To End Summer 2020 With A Bang," 4 Sep. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of acquaintance

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for acquaintance

Middle English acointance, aqueyntaunce, borrowed from Anglo-French acointance, aqueyntance, from acointer "to acquaint" + -ance -ance

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Time Traveler for acquaintance

Time Traveler

The first known use of acquaintance was in the 13th century

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Statistics for acquaintance

Last Updated

18 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Acquaintance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acquaintance. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for acquaintance

acquaintance

noun

English Language Learners Definition of acquaintance

: someone who is known but who is not a close friend
formal : the state of knowing someone in a personal or social way : the state of knowing someone as an acquaintance
: knowledge about something

acquaintance

noun
ac·​quain·​tance | \ ə-ˈkwān-tᵊns How to pronounce acquaintance (audio) \

Kids Definition of acquaintance

1 : a person someone knows slightly
2 : personal knowledge He has some acquaintance with car repair.

Comments on acquaintance

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