acknowledge

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Recorded since 1553, a blend (with a parasitic c slipped in) of Middle English aknow (from Old English oncnawan (to understand), itself from on with cnawan (to know) and knowlechen (to admit). Other sources derive it from the prefix a- with a verb knowledge, and compare acknow.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

acknowledge (third-person singular simple present acknowledges, present participle acknowledging, simple past and past participle acknowledged)

  1. (transitive) To admit the knowledge of; to recognize as a fact or truth; to declare one's belief in; as, to acknowledge the being of a god.
    • I acknowledge my transgressions. - Psalm 51:3.
    • For ends generally acknowledged to be good. - Thomas Macaulay
  2. To own or recognize in a particular quality, character or relationship; to admit the claims or authority of; to give recognition to.
  3. To own with gratitude or as a benefit or an obligation; as, to acknowledge a favor.
  4. To notify receipt, as of a letter.
  5. To own as genuine or valid; to assent to, as a legal instrument, to give it validity; to avow or admit in legal form; as, to acknowledge a deed.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Acknowledge is opposed to keep back, or conceal, and supposes that something had been previously known to us (though perhaps not to others) which we now feel bound to lay open or make public. Thus, a man acknowledges a secret marriage; one who has done wrong acknowledges his fault; and author acknowledges his obligation to those who have aided him; we acknowledge our ignorance.
  • Recognize supposes that we have either forgotten or not had the evidence of a thing distinctly before our minds, but that now we know it (as it were) anew, or receive and admit in on the ground of the evidence it brings. Thus, we recognize a friend after a long absence. We recognize facts, principles, truths, etc., when their evidence is brought up fresh to the mind; as, bad men usually recognize the providence of God in seasons of danger. A foreign minister, consul, or agent, of any kind, is recognized on the ground of his producing satisfactory credentials.
  • See also confess

Synonyms[edit]

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Translations[edit]

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References[edit]