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 This is because employers insist on broad networks which leads to payors acquiescing when push comes to shove. Bob Kocher, Fortune, 14 Nov. 2023 Chinese officials have claimed sovereignty over the island throughout the ensuing decades, despite never having ruled there, but Taiwanese authorities have never acquiesced to that claim. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, 11 Jan. 2024 The Orioles acquiesced to Adair’s request to be traded early in the 1966 season after rookie Davey Johnson became the starting second baseman. Paul McCardell, Baltimore Sun, 10 Jan. 2024 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. Laurel Rosenhall, Los Angeles Times, 5 Oct. 2023 But China invariably comes out ahead in these arrangements—and the deals carry the expectation that the recipient of Chinese largesse will acquiesce, or at least remain impartial, to Beijing’s expansionist maritime claims and plans for technological dominance. John Lee, Foreign Affairs, 21 Nov. 2023 There wasn’t room in SDSU’s schedule the last two seasons, but GCU coach Bryce Drew kept pressing and finally got his wish: The Aztecs acquiesced instead of forking over the contract’s $150,000 buyout. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Dec. 2023 Although the Saudis are reportedly willing to accept lesser demands, the current explosion of violence and Israel’s promises of further retaliation lessen the likelihood that public opinion across the Arab world will acquiesce. Karen Deyoung, Washington Post, 7 Oct. 2023 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 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 23 Feb. 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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