nodding acquaintance

noun
1.
a slight, incomplete, or superficial knowledge (of something or someone): He had only a nodding acquaintance with Italian and didn't trust it to get him through the tour. Although we were neighbors for several years, we had only a nodding acquaintance.
2.
a person with whom one is only slightly acquainted: I don't really know what he's like—he's only a nodding acquaintance.

Origin:
1860–65

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To nodding acquaintance
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

nodding acquaintance

Superficial knowledge of someone or something, as in I have a nodding acquaintance with the company president, or She has a nodding acquaintance with that software program. This expression alludes to knowing someone just well enough to nod or bow upon meeting him or her. "Early 1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
He had never visited the country before and had only a nodding acquaintance with the language.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature