a person known to one, but usually not a close friend.
the state of being acquainted.
personal knowledge as a result of study, experience, etc.: a good acquaintance with French wines.
(used with a plural verb) the persons with whom one is acquainted.
Also, acquaintanceship (for defs 2, 3).

1250–1300; Middle English aqueinta(u)nce, acoyntaunce < Old French acointance. See acquaint, -ance

nonacquaintance, noun
nonacquaintanceship, noun
preacquaintance, noun
pseudoacquaintance, noun
reacquaintance, noun

1. Acquaintance, associate, companion, friend refer to a person with whom one is in contact. An acquaintance is someone recognized by sight or someone known, though not intimately: a casual acquaintance. An associate is a person who is often in one's company, usually because of some work, enterprise, or pursuit in common: a business associate. A companion is a person who shares one's activities, fate, or condition: a traveling companion; companion in despair. A friend is a person with whom one is on intimate terms and for whom one feels a warm affection: a trusted friend. 3. familiarity, awareness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
acquaintance (əˈkweɪntəns)
1.  a person with whom one has been in contact but who is not a close friend
2.  knowledge of a person or thing, esp when slight
3.  make the acquaintance of to come into social contact with
4.  those persons collectively whom one knows
5.  philosophy the relation between a knower and the object of his knowledge, as contrasted with knowledge by description (esp in the phrase knowledge by acquaintance)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., "person with whom one is acquainted;" also "personal knowledge;" from O.Fr. acointance, noun of action from acointer (see acquaint). Acquaintant, 17c., would have been better in the "person known" sense, but is now obsolete.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see nodding acquaintance; scrape up an acquaintance.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
However, he presumes a prior acquaintance with Twain's work.
Bonnet was thrilled to make Blackbeard's acquaintance, and the two pirate
  captains agreed to cruise together.
My acquaintance with Keats began awkwardly.
Likewise, you may be on the receiving end of tendrils of acquaintance.
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