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Can I say "acquiesce" and be acquiescent, or by saying the word do I then imply a protest, negating my acquiescence?

Example: "I acquiesce to your request."

  1. To me, it seems that speaking the word is to do the opposite of the word's definition. Is this an accurate ascessment of what is going on?
  2. If so, does the word "acquiesce" fall into a general category of words that share these properties?
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What makes you think so? – Kris May 7 '12 at 16:08
You appear to think that "acquiesce" only means "assent without saying a word". But it also means "assent without protest". – Mark Beadles May 7 '12 at 16:14
@MarkBeadles - I guess my confusion stemmed from the word protest, which I initially took to mean as, "saying or implying anything against a proposal." – Brandon Boone May 7 '12 at 16:33
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The dictionary.reference.com link that you gave shows only one sense for acquiesce: "to assent tacitly; submit or comply silently or without protest; agree; consent: [eg] to acquiesce halfheartedly in a business plan", from which one might (but shouldn't) suppose acquiescence is necessarily silent. However, other dictionaries, with senses like "To concur upon conviction; as, to acquiesce in an opinion; to assent to; usually, to concur, not heartily but so far as to forbear opposition" make it more clear that acquiescence need not be silent, merely not hearty.

This is made more explicit in wiktionary:

  1. (intransitive) To rest satisfied, or apparently satisfied, or to rest without opposition and discontent (usually implying previous opposition or discontent); to accept or consent by silence or by omitting to object; — followed by "in", formerly also by "with" and "to".
  2. (intransitive) To concur upon conviction; as, to acquiesce in an opinion; to assent to; usually, to concur, not heartily but so far as to forbear opposition.

Edit: Former protest or reservations may be implied when acquiescence is done unhappily or reluctantly; I think it is not implied in other cases. For example:

They frowned and grumbled and slowly acquiesced. – Implies some protest
They acquiesced and turned away. – One cannot tell about protest
They smiled and grinned and eagerly acquiesced. – Implies no protest; but is unusual usage

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looks like I need a better dictionary. So if I say, "I acquiesce to whatever...." I am saying that I disagree or have reservations, but I will submit and press the issue no further. This makes more sense to me. – Brandon Boone May 7 '12 at 16:27
@Brandon, certainly, "will submit and press the issue no further" applies. But "disagree or have reservations" not necessarily. Please see examples in edit. – jwpat7 May 7 '12 at 16:52
Great! Thanks for the further explanation. – Brandon Boone May 7 '12 at 17:20

I believe that should be "acquiesce TO your request".

Which I guess would mean,, though I have reluctance, I will comply.

So, I think the answer is no - you could theoretically use it in this case without negating the meaning of the word.

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