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?

Acquiesce means essentially "to comply quietly," so it should not surprise you to learn that it is ultimately derived from the Latin verb quiēscere, meaning "to be quiet." It arrived in English in the early 1600s, via the French acquiescer, with the senses "to agree or comply" and "to rest satisfied" (this latter sense is now obsolete). An early example of the word acquiesce in the sense of "to agree or comply" can be found in the writings of the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes who, in his 1651 masterpiece, Leviathan, argued that people must subject themselves completely to a sovereign and should obey the teachings of the church. Encouraging his readers to adopt his position he wrote, "Our Beleefe … is in the Church; whose word we take, and acquiesce therein."

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

Example Sentences

… 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 In other words: Venice would need to acquiesce to low-level inundation. Stefano Pitrelli, Washington Post, 26 Nov. 2022 If calls for alternative app stores become strong enough, Apple will have to acquiesce or risk losing market share. WSJ, 16 Dec. 2022 The light, then, was fading, but Morocco did not acquiesce. Rory Smith, New York Times, 14 Dec. 2022 As long as the government continues allowing men to abuse women in the home with impunity, men are more likely to acquiesce to a one-party dictatorship. Dr. Leta Hong Fincher, Harper's BAZAAR, 14 Dec. 2022 Nominally, the justification as claimed is that these E.U. countries refused to acquiesce to Gazprom’s demands that its existing contracts now be paid, in violation of those contracts’ terms, in Russian rubles instead of U.S. dollars. Suriya Jayanti, Time, 29 Apr. 2022 Kemp didn’t acquiesce to their demands and squeaked out a narrow victory with less than two percentage points. Eric Cortellessa, Time, 2 Nov. 2022 The easiest solution, of course, would be to acquiesce to Apple’s in-app purchase system. J. Clara Chan, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Nov. 2022 True, Putin might not invade Ukraine if America and NATO acquiesce to his most recent demands. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 29 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acquiesce.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 28 Jan. 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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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