AskDefine | Define acknowledge

Dictionary Definition



1 declare to be true or admit the existence or reality or truth of; "He admitted his errors"; "She acknowledged that she might have forgotten" [syn: admit] [ant: deny]
2 report the receipt of; "The program committee acknowledged the submission of the authors of the paper" [syn: receipt]
3 express recognition of the presence or existence of, or acquaintance with; "He never acknowledges his colleagues when they run into him in the hallway"; "She acknowledged his complement with a smile"; "it is important to acknowledge the work of others in one's own writing" [syn: notice]
4 express obligation, thanks, or gratitude for; "We must acknowledge the kindness she showed towards us" [syn: recognize, recognise]
5 accept as legally binding and valid; "acknowledge the deed"
6 accept (someone) to be what is claimed or accept his power and authority; "The Crown Prince was acknowledged as the true heir to the throne"; "We do not recognize your gods" [syn: recognize, recognise, know]

User Contributed Dictionary



Probably from the prefix a- + the verb knowledge. See knowledge, and compare acknow.


  • WEAE /ækˈnɑl.ɪʤ/


  1. 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 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, the receipt of a letter.
  4. To own as genuine; 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

  • 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

Related terms


To admit the knowledge of
  • Portuguese: reconhecer
To admit the claims or authority of
  • Portuguese: reconhecer
To own with gratitude
  • Portuguese: reconhecer
To own as genuine
  • Portuguese: reconhecer


Extensive Definition

Acknowledgment (also spelled acknowledgement) can refer to:
  • Acknowledgment of receipt, a postal service
  • Acknowledgement - ethical, as in to "offer someone acknowledgement" or to "provide recognition". To take someone seriously as an end in themselves, as a human worthy of respect, as having a valid point of view, as a genuine ethical subject.

See also

acknowledge in French: Acquittement

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

accept, account for, accredit with, accrete to, admit, admit everything, affirm, agree, agree provisionally, allege, allow, announce, answer, answer back, apply to, ascribe to, assent grudgingly, asseverate, assign to, attach to, attest, attribute to, aver, avouch, avow, bear the expense, bear witness, blame, blame for, blame on, bless, bring home to, certify, charge on, charge to, chip in, come back, come back at, come clean, concede, confess, connect with, consider, cop a plea, credit, credit with, declare, deem, defray, defray expenses, depone, depose, disclose, divulge, echo, express general agreement, fasten upon, father upon, finance, fix on, fix upon, flash back, foot the bill, fund, give acknowledgment, give answer, give credit, give evidence, give thanks, go Dutch, go along with, grant, hang on, hold, honor a bill, impute to, lay to, let on, make acknowledgments of, not oppose, offer thanks, open up, out with it, own, own up, pay for, pay the bill, pay the piper, pin on, pinpoint, place upon, plead guilty, point to, proclaim, publish, react, receive, recognize, redeem, reecho, refer to, rejoin, render credit, render thanks, reply, respond, retort, return, return answer, return for answer, return thanks, reveal, reverberate, riposte, saddle on, saddle with, say, say in reply, set down to, settle upon, shoot back, spill, spill it, spit it out, stand the costs, swear, talk back, tell, tell all, tell the truth, testify, thank, view, vouch, warrant, witness, yield
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