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Alternative forms[edit]


Recorded since 1553, a blend of Middle English aknowen (to recognize, acknowledge) and knowlechen (to discover, reveal, acknowledge). The former verb is from Old English oncnāwan, ācnāwan (to know, recognize, acknowledge), from on + cnāwan (to know). The latter is derived from the noun at hand in knowledge. For the formation compare Latin agnōscō and Russian призна́ть (priznátʹ), with cognate roots.

The /k/-sound was preserved by being redistributed to the preceding syllable: /əˈkn-/ > /əkˈn-/. The -c- was inserted accordingly to reflect this pronunciation more clearly.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /əkˈnɒl.ɪd͡ʒ/, [əkˈnɒlɨ̞d͡ʒ], [əɡˈnɒlɨ̞d͡ʒ]
  • (US) IPA(key): /əkˈnɑl.ɪd͡ʒ/, [əkˈnɑːɫəd͡ʒ], [ɨkˈnɑːɫɨd͡ʒ], [əɡˈnɑːɫəd͡ʒ], [ɨɡˈnɑːɫɨd͡ʒ]
  • Rhymes: -ɒlɪdʒ
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation US: ac‧knowl‧edge, UK: ac‧know‧ledge


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
    to acknowledge the being of a god
  2. (transitive) To own or recognize in a particular quality, character or relationship; to admit the claims or authority of; to give recognition to.
  3. (transitive) To be grateful of (e.g. a benefit or a favour)
    to acknowledge a favor
  4. (transitive) To report (the receipt of a message to its sender).
    This is to acknowledge your kind invitation to participate in the upcoming debate.
  5. (transitive) To own as genuine or valid; to assent to (a legal instrument) to give it validity; to avow or admit in legal form.
    • 1843, Thomas Isaac Wharton, A Digest of the Reported Cases Adjudged in the Several Courts Held in Pennsylvania, Together with Some Manuscript Cases:
      One who has been sheriff may acknowledge a deed executed by him while in office.

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