ac·​qui·​esce ˌa-kwē-ˈes How to pronounce acquiesce (audio)
acquiesced; acquiescing

intransitive verb

: to accept, comply, or submit tacitly or passively
often used with in or to

Did you know?

If you’re looking to give your speech a gentle, formal flair, don't give acquiesce the silent treatment. Essentially meaning "to comply quietly," acquiesce has as its ultimate source the Latin verb quiēscere, "to be quiet." (Quiet itself is also a close relation.) Quiēscere can also mean "to repose," "to fall asleep," or "to rest," and when acquiesce arrived in English via French in the early 1600s, it did so with two senses: the familiar "to agree or comply" and the now-obsolete "to rest satisfied." Herman Melville employed the former in Moby-Dick, when Ahab orders the "confounded" crew to change the Pequod's course after a storm damages the compasses: "Meanwhile, whatever were his own secret thoughts, Starbuck said nothing, but quietly he issued all requisite orders; while Stubb and Flask—who in some small degree seemed then to be sharing his feelings—likewise unmurmuringly acquiesced."

Choose the Right Synonym for acquiesce

assent, consent, accede, acquiesce, agree, subscribe mean to concur with what has been proposed.

assent implies an act involving the understanding or judgment and applies to propositions or opinions.

voters assented to the proposal

consent involves the will or feelings and indicates compliance with what is requested or desired.

consented to their daughter's going

accede implies a yielding, often under pressure, of assent or consent.

officials acceded to the prisoners' demands

acquiesce implies tacit acceptance or forbearance of opposition.

acquiesced to his boss's wishes

agree sometimes implies previous difference of opinion or attempts at persuasion.

finally agreed to come along

subscribe implies not only consent or assent but hearty approval and active support.

subscribes wholeheartedly to the idea

Examples of acquiesce in a Sentence

… the tender understanding with which he had acquiesced to her wish not to consummate their relationship out of wedlock. Dorothy West, The Wedding, 1995
… he seems to have acquiesced in his Christian Scientist wife's refusal to provide medical care … Joyce Carol Oates, New York Times Book Review, 17 Dec. 1995
The main body of Shi'is, in and around Iraq, accepted 'Abbasid rule, or at least acquiesced in it. Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, 1991
He passively acquired the reputation of being a snob, and acquiesced to it … George V. Higgins, Harper's, September 1984
They demanded it, and he acquiesced. apparently the contractor expected me to acquiesce to my own fleecing See More
Recent Examples on the Web The British military eventually acquiesced, but when a low-flying RAF Mosquito crashed near the school, the resulting blaze was interpreted by other pilots — disorientated and lacking modern technology — as their target. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, 1 Nov. 2023 The conservative women said McCarthy had been left with two bad choices in the days before his ouster: Risk a revolt from the hard right and cut a deal with Democrats to pass a funding bill, or acquiesce to the hard-liners and shut down the federal government, wrecking the economy. Laura J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times, 4 Oct. 2023 Producers acquiesced and contestants wore synthetic furs that year, but the following year – after 21 years of hosting - Barker resigned when producers refused to stop giving fur coats as prizes. Cara Tabachnick, CBS News, 26 Aug. 2023 With every other music media outlet perpetually acquiescing to the whims of the algorithm, Bandcamp has never had to waste a keystroke on Taylor Swift or Drake. Chris Richards, Washington Post, 20 Oct. 2023 The trauma in Israel today should give pause to those thinking that Israel will simply acquiesce to a short tit for tat. Natan Sachs, The Atlantic, 7 Oct. 2023 McCarthy acquiesced to additional demands on a number of occasions, knowing full well the consequences for not playing along would mean losing his job. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 3 Oct. 2023 Putin acquiesced in Lukashenko’s shadowy agreement and even met Prigozhin who was allowed to fly around the world, recently visiting his Musicians in Africa, wielding a Kalashnikov and full desert fatigues. Time, 24 Aug. 2023 McCarthy has largely acquiesced to their demands, even directing committees this month to open an impeachment inquiry into Biden to appease restive conservatives. Tony Romm, Washington Post, 22 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History


borrowed from French acquiescer, going back to Middle French, borrowed from Latin acquiēscere "to rest, find peace, be satisfied (with)," from ad- ad- + quiēscere "to repose, be quiet" — more at quiescent

First Known Use

1613, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of acquiesce was in 1613


Dictionary Entries Near acquiesce

Cite this Entry

“Acquiesce.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


ac·​qui·​esce ˌak-wē-ˈes How to pronounce acquiesce (audio)
acquiesced; acquiescing
: to accept, agree, or give consent by keeping silent or by not raising objections

Legal Definition


intransitive verb
ac·​qui·​esce ˌa-kwē-ˈes How to pronounce acquiesce (audio)
acquiesced; acquiescing
: to accept, comply, or submit tacitly or passively
often used with in and sometimes with to
acquiescence noun

More from Merriam-Webster on acquiesce

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