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
Recent Examples on the Web Martin then was a no show for training camp and missed three weeks before the Cowboys acquiesced to his demands. Clarence E. Hill Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 3 June 2024 Jon Arbuckle is a notorious pushover, acquiescing to Garfield’s every desire, want, and need. Kristina Behr, Parents, 20 May 2024 Finally, on July 12, 1957, the hoteliers acquiesced — in part. Mike Klingaman, Baltimore Sun, 2 Apr. 2024 For universities that have so far acquiesced to this madness, difficult choices abound. Dan Lennington, National Review, 9 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for acquiesce 

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 23 Jun. 2024.

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

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