Usage note: admitacknowledge recognize concede confessThese words all mean to agree, often unwillingly, that something is true.admit to agree, often unwillingly, that something is true: It was a stupid thing to do, I admit.acknowledge (somewhat formal) to accept that something exists, is true, or has happened: She refuses to acknowledge the need for reform.recognize to admit or be aware that something exists or is true: They recognized the need to take the problem seriously.concede (somewhat formal) to admit, often unwillingly, that something is true or logical: He was forced to concede that there might be difficulties.admit or concede?When someone admits something, they are usually agreeing that something that is generally considered bad or wrong is true or has happened, especially when it relates to their own actions. When someone concedes something, they are usually accepting, unwillingly, that a particular fact or statement is true or logical.confess (somewhat formal) to admit something that you feel ashamed or embarrassed about: She was reluctant to confess her ignorance.patternsto admit/acknowledge/recognize/concede/confess that…to admit/confess to somethingto admit/concede/confess something to someoneto admit/acknowledge/recognize the truthto admit/confess your mistakes/ignoranceUsage note: acknowledgeacknowledge verbto accept or admit the existence or truth of somethinggenerally, universally, widely|openly, publicly|implicitly, tacitly|explicitly|readilyResearchers have universally acknowledged the need for more studies in this area.Frederick Douglass openly acknowledged his Indian heritage.existence|importance|limitation|mistakeThe study's limitations must be acknowledged.North acknowledges the importance of technological change.thatThe authors acknowledge that some of the results are speculative.fail to|refuse to|be forced toKamps's analysis fails to acknowledge a key distinction.acknowledged adjectivegenerally, universally, widelyIt is widely acknowledged that the Internet radically alters the commercial environment.Cézanne is the universally acknowledged father of Cubism.acknowledgment nounthe act of accepting that something exists or is trueimplicit, tacit|grudging, candid, frankFrom the beginning, the characters’ relationship is marked by a candid acknowledgment of Esther's strength.
admit1 to accept that something is true acknowledge somethingShe refuses to acknowledge the need for reform.Are you prepared to acknowledge your responsibility? acknowledge that…The government acknowledged that the tax was unfair. acknowledge something to be, have, etc. somethingIt is generally acknowledged to be true.
accept status2 to accept that someone or something has a particular authority or status synonym recognize acknowledge someone/somethingThe country acknowledged his claim to the presidency. acknowledge someone/something as somethingHe is widely acknowledged as the best player in the world. acknowledge someone/something to be, have, etc. somethingHe is widely acknowledged to be the best player in the world.
reply to letter3 acknowledge something to tell someone that you have received something that they sent to youAll applications will be acknowledged.Please acknowledge receipt of this letter.
smile/wave4 acknowledge someone/something to show that you have noticed someone or something by smiling, waving, etc.I was standing right next to her, but she didn't even acknowledge me.He waved, acknowledging the applause.
acknowledged adjectivea generally acknowledged fact