Is acquiescence used correctly in the following sentence?

It is helpful that we had both verbally stated our acquiescence beforehand.

closed as off-topic by curiousdannii, Rory Alsop, tchrist Jan 29 '17 at 14:35

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Jan 28 '17 at 16:48

No. If you have verbally stated your agreement, you are simply agreeing. By definition, an acquiescence is silent. Merriam-Webster defines the word as passive acceptance or submission, and says:

Acquiesce means essentially "to comply quietly," so it should not surprise you to learn that it is ultimately derived from the Latin verb quiescere, meaning "to be quiet." It arrived in English around 1620, via the French acquiescer, with the now obsolete sense "to rest satisfied." The earliest known recorded use of the word acquiesce in the sense of "to agree or comply" appeared in the writings of the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes in 1651. In his masterpiece Leviathan, Hobbes argued that people must subject themselves completely to a sovereign and should obey the teachings of the church. Encouraging his readers to adopt his position he wrote, "Our Beleefe . . . is in the Church; whose word we take, and acquiesce therein."

Since the agreement expressed by acquiescence is tacit, the word is sometimes taken to imply that this agreement is reluctant or grudging. However, such reluctance is not a baked-in part of the word's meaning. By acquiescing, you're allowing your silence to be taken for consent: you're not expressing any objections, which in turn is interpreted as your being okay with the situation or proposal.

Suppose a teenager and her father use a chat client which indicates whether or not a given message has been seen by its recipient. The teenager texts the father:

I'm going to the mall.

She can see that her father has read the message, but he doesn't reply. He has thereby acquiesced.

If you want to imply considered agreement, you could use assent instead. Merriam-Webster again:

an act of agreeing to something especially after thoughtful consideration : an act of assenting.

In the same chat thread, if the dad does reply:

Okay, but be back in time for dinner.

He is no longer merely acquiescing, but assenting, albeit conditionally.

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