Alternative formsEdit


Recorded since 1553, a blend (with a parasitic c slipped in) of Middle English aknow (from Old English oncnawan (to understand), itself from on with cnawan (to know) and knowlechen (to admit). Other sources derive it from the prefix a- with a verb knowledge, and compare acknow.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /əkˈnɒ.lɪdʒ/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ækˈnɑː.lɪdʒ/, [əkˈnɑːlədʒ], [ɨkˈnɑːlɨdʒ], [əɡˈnɑːlədʒ], [ɨɡˈnɑːlɨdʒ]
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation US: ac‧knowl‧edge, UK: ac‧know‧ledge


acknowledge (third-person singular simple present acknowledges, present participle acknowledging, simple past and past participle acknowledged)

  1. (transitive) To admit the knowledge of; to recognize as a fact or truth; to declare one's belief in
    to acknowledge the being of a god
    • 1611, King James Version, Psalm 51:3
      I acknowledge my transgressions.
    • 1849, Thomas Macaulay, The History of England from the Accession of James II, Chapter 1
      For ends generally acknowledged to be good.
    • 1604, Jeremy Corderoy, A Short Dialogve, wherein is Proved, that No Man can be Saved without Good VVorkes, 2nd edition, Oxford: Printed by Ioseph Barnes, and are to be sold in Paules Church-yard at the signe of the Crowne, by Simon Waterson, OCLC 55185654, page 40:
      [N]ow ſuch a liue vngodly, vvithout a care of doing the wil of the Lord (though they profeſſe him in their mouths, yea though they beleeue and acknowledge all the Articles of the Creed, yea haue knowledge of the Scripturs) yet if they liue vngodly, they deny God, and therefore ſhal be denied, []
  2. To own or recognize in a particular quality, character or relationship; to admit the claims or authority of; to give recognition to.
  3. To be grateful of (e.g. a benefit or a favour)
    to acknowledge a favor
  4. To report (the receipt of a message to its sender).
    This is to acknowledge your kind invitation to participate in the upcoming debate.
  5. To own as genuine or valid; to assent to (a legal instrument) to give it validity; to avow or admit in legal form.
    • 1843, Thomas Isaac Wharton, A Digest of the Reported Cases Adjudged in the Several Courts Held in Pennsylvania, Together with Some Manuscript Cases:
      One who has been sheriff may acknowledge a deed executed by him while in office.

Usage notesEdit

  • 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 it on the grounds 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. A foreign minister, consul, or agent, of any kind, is recognized on the ground of his producing satisfactory credentials.
  • See also confess


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.