Back when life was simpler, the words “acclamation” and “acclaim” behaved within precise heterogeneous bounds. The first acted publicly as a noun and the second as a verb. I was naive, oblivious to “acclaim’s” notoriously promiscuous life. The bliss continued until one day I hovered over a gawky line in Wikipedia.


“It brought acclaim for many Aboriginal artists.”

Reputable dictionary entries about “acclaim,” assign a slot at the bottom of the page to warn you that, indeed, the word may also crossdress as a noun. But my primitive non-Chomskian logic found it hard to agree. How do you bring “acclaim” and not “acclamation” to Aboriginal artists? I felt the word “acclaim” was too verb-like. So, I kept rewriting the line in my mind to say, “brought acclamation.” But, this combination yielded surprisingly few results in Google.

  I had to switch to “praise,” one of “acclaim’s” relative words, to make sense. The grammar behind “brought praise” is native to the modern religious language of revivalism (Ngram). Though to me it lacked elegance when replaced with “acclaim,” I had to admit that the phrase was grammatically sound. The sources I consulted, however, offered limited user instructions. So, I still wonder.  

If as nouns they may behave synonymously, when should we prefer to use “acclaim” over “acclamation”?

I- Questions with some similarities:

1- Kudos?

2- Notoriety

II- Outside attempts to address the issue:

1- Differences between acclaim and acclamation?

2- Acclaim and credit

  • 2
    To me, acclamation suggests enthusiastic praise from a group of people present at the scene, whereas acclaim is praise from people in general, the media etc. Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 7:44
  • So, there is a difference in intensity between these two words? Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 19:37
  • No, I meant that there is a difference in context. A victorious football team parading the streets receives acclamation, the Aboriginal artists in your Wikipedia quote received acclaim. Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 7:55
  • PS - Looking at the Wikipedia article, I see it refers to singers and not visual artists as I had supposed, but the same applies; presumably their work was praised by critics, their recordings sold well etc. Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 8:05
  • Don’t take Wikipedia seriously. Any fool can write or edit articles — even me.
    – David
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 19:43

2 Answers 2


ACCLAMATION - noun 1 : a loud eager expression of approval, praise, or assent
2 : an overwhelming affirmative vote by cheers, shouts, or applause rather than by ballot Merriam-Webster

Definitions of acclamation:

  • An acclamation, in its most common sense, is a form of election that does not use a ballot. "Acclamation" can also signify a kind of ritual greeting and expression of approval in certain social contexts in ancient Rome. Wikipedia

    • An acclamation was formerly one of the methods of papal election. Wikipedia
  • A shout of approbation, favor, or assent; eager expression of approval; loud applause; The process of electing a person to a post in the absence of other nominees; : A representation, in sculpture or on medals, of people expressing joy; Without opposition in an election. Wiktionary

  • Acclamatory - Pertaining to, or expressing approval by, acclamation. Wiktionary

ACCLAIM (n & v.) - transitive verb 1 : applaud, praise, 2 : to declare by acclamation - intransitive verb : to shout praise or applause - noun 1 : the act of acclaiming, 2 : praise, applause. eg. The book received great acclaim. !source not verified

To answer your question (what is the difference & when do we use them) I'd say acclaim is far more commonly used than acclamation. But if you must use acclamation, to me it sounds better in the passive tense, eg: The acclamation received by the author was overwhelming vs. The author received overwhelming acclaim.

From user @Toffler on italki.

-All edits and formatting changes are my own.

--NOTE-- I know this work is not my own, but I share all opinions disclosed here and felt it unnecessary to repost.

  • The italki reference is actually to a Merriam-Webster source, hence the listing of noun subsense (a) (= acclamation, the act, a count usage) before the far less uncommon (b), non-count. Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 18:54

Acclaim is a less specific word. Anyone who is generally praised is receiving acclaim.

To receive acclamation is to be praised/cheered on by a group physically present. It brings to mind a parade or a Roman triumph.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.