acquaintance

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old French acointance. Compare French accointance.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

acquaintance (countable and uncountable, plural acquaintances)

  1. (uncountable) A state of being acquainted, or of having intimate, or more than slight or superficial, knowledge; personal knowledge gained by intercourse short of that of friendship or intimacy
    I know of the man; but have no acquaintance with him.
    • 1799, William Jones (translator), Hito'pade'sa, in The Works, Volume 6, page 22:
      Contract no friendſhip, or even acquaintance, with a guileful man : he reſembles a coal, which when hot burneth the hand, and when cold blacketh it.
  2. (countable) A person or persons with whom one is acquainted.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Synonym notes: The words acquaintance, familiarity, and intimacy mark different degrees of closeness in social intercourse. Acquaintance arises from occasional intercourse or interaction; as, "our acquaintance has been a brief one". We can speak of a slight or an intimate acquaintance. Familiarity is the result of continued acquaintance. It springs from persons being frequently together, so as to wear off all restraint and reserve; as, "the familiarity of old companions". Intimacy is the result of close connection, and the freest interchange of thought; as, "the intimacy of established friendship".

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