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[ak-nol-ij] /ækˈnɒl ɪdʒ/
verb (used with object), acknowledged, acknowledging.
to admit to be real or true; recognize the existence, truth, or fact of:
to acknowledge one's mistakes.
to show or express recognition or realization of:
to acknowledge an acquaintance by nodding.
to recognize the authority, validity, or claims of:
The students acknowledged the authority of the student council.
to show or express appreciation or gratitude for:
to acknowledge a favor.
to indicate or make known the receipt of:
to acknowledge a letter.
to take notice of or reply to:
to acknowledge a greeting.
Law. to confirm as binding or of legal force:
to acknowledge a deed.
1475-85; acknowleche, apparently either Middle English aknou(en) to recognize (Old English oncnāwan; see a-1, know) + -leche noun suffix (Old English *-lǣce, by-form of -lac; cf. knowledge, wedlock); or blend of aknouen and knouleche knowledge; then a- was mistaken for ac-
Related forms
acknowledgeable, adjective
acknowledger, noun
preacknowledge, verb (used with object), preacknowledged, preacknowledging.
reacknowledge, verb (used with object), reacknowledged, reacknowledging.
unacknowledging, adjective
1. concede, confess, grant. Acknowledge, admit, confess agree in the idea of declaring something to be true. Acknowledge implies making a statement reluctantly, often about something previously denied: to acknowledge a fault. Admit especially implies acknowledging something under pressure: to admit a charge. Confess usually means stating somewhat formally an admission of wrongdoing, crime, or shortcoming: to confess guilt; to confess an inability to understand.
1. deny, disclaim, disavow. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for acknowledging
  • But the fact that authorities are even acknowledging that wastewater agriculture exists is progress, the report says.
  • It's about time that people are acknowledging that there is a correlation between carcinogens in the environment and cancer.
  • Humans always fail acknowledging their own weaknesses and mistakes in understanding life.
  • Realism is about acknowledging what is and is not there.
  • Great to see a climate scientist acknowledging that skepticism has a legitimate place in science.
  • Results require acknowledging reality first and going from there.
  • Good for you for finally acknowledging one of your many errors.
  • The soul has that measureless pride which consists in never acknowledging any lessons or deductions but its own.
  • The soul has that measureless pride which consists in never acknowledging any lessons but its own.
  • NO nation can claim rights without acknowledging the duties that go with the rights.
British Dictionary definitions for acknowledging


verb (transitive)
(may take a clause as object) to recognize or admit the existence, truth, or reality of
to indicate recognition or awareness of, as by a greeting, glance, etc
to express appreciation or thanks for: to acknowledge a gift
to make the receipt of known to the sender: to acknowledge a letter
to recognize, esp in legal form, the authority, rights, or claims of
Derived Forms
acknowledgeable, adjective
acknowledger, noun
Word Origin
C15: probably from earlier knowledge, on the model of Old English oncnāwan, Middle English aknowen to confess, recognize
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for acknowledging



1550s, a blend of Middle English aknow (from Old English oncnawan "understand," from on + cnawan "recognize;" see know) and Middle English knowlechen "admit, acknowledge" (c.1200; see knowledge). In the merger, a parasitic -c- slipped in, so that while the kn- became a simple "n" sound (as in know), the -c- stepped up to preserve, in this word, the ancient "kn-" sound. Related: Acknowledged; acknowledging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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