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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Dear Annie: An acquaintance from my past (1983) contacted me in July 2019 after searching for and finding me on social media. Annie Lane, oregonlive, 13 May 2022 The argument escalated, and the rapper allegedly fired a handgun at the acquaintance, who sustained minor injuries, according to police. Janelle Ash, Fox News, 24 Apr. 2022 Taken together, the exhibit offers a thorough and thoughtful examination of Wilson’s life and work, illuminating both to those who already know his story as well as those who are just making the acquaintance. Susan Glaser, cleveland, 21 Apr. 2022 When the burglary suspects were identified, their addresses turn out to be in the same apartment building as the acquaintance. Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2021 The acquaintance was ultimately sentenced to life on a murder charge and was released after 15 years. NBC News, 17 Nov. 2021 Avon police went to several communities checking with people who knew the teenager, and Enfield police searched for the acquaintance. Don Stacom, courant.com, 9 Sep. 2021 His fame growing even more, our hero in short order makes the acquaintance of a young Elon Musk and joins Tesla at a time when that brand is breaking out in a very big way. Heather Wishart-smith, Forbes, 9 Sep. 2021 The male acquaintance is a University of Alabama student, but both females are students at other local colleges, Kennedy said. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 8 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near acquaintance

acquaint

acquaintance

acquaintance rape

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Statistics for acquaintance

Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Acquaintance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acquaintance. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for acquaintance

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on acquaintance

Nglish: Translation of acquaintance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of acquaintance for Arabic Speakers

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