The most common word for the opposite of acknowledge is either ignore or deny.

Can I use the word disregard as the opposite of acknowledge?

I have a form that have the following options:

  • acknowledge
  • pending
  • X

where X is the word that I am thinking and will be a suitable word as the opposite of acknowledge.

A friend of mine suggest that I use the word reject as the opposite of acknowledge. What is the most suitable word?

  • 1
    It seems to me all your suggested verbs could work -- it really depends on the context. "Reject" is a little strong. "Disregard" may be your best bet but if you can give a little more context as well as your thoughts on why disregard is better than ignore or deny, that would be great.
    – JAM
    Oct 29, 2012 at 2:07
  • This seems to have been a problem in the software world for a while. Network protocols (e.g. TCP) have need of the acknowledgement of receipt of data (ACK) and also the negative acknowledgement on conditions of error, etc. In the latter case, they made up their own abbreviation, NACK. Not that I'm advocating you use this on an end-user facing form.
    – Hollister
    Oct 29, 2012 at 6:53
  • @Hollister Actually, you have the spelling a bit off: the opposite of an ᴀᴄᴋ is a ɴᴀᴋ, or of an ␆ is a ␕.
    – tchrist
    Oct 29, 2012 at 17:33
  • Although less common, it's also known as NACK: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NAK_(protocol_message)
    – Hollister
    Oct 29, 2012 at 21:31

2 Answers 2


"Ignore" seems to me to be the best antonym for "acknowledge". It can be inserted into a sentence in place of "acknowledge" and it entirely negates the sentence.

The teacher acknowledges my abilities.
The teacher ignores my abilities.

Disregarding and rejecting require some form of acknowledgement.

  • So, I can also assume the the following sentence - The teacher disregard my abilities?
    – Jack
    Oct 30, 2012 at 4:55
  • Sure, but as I said, disregarding requires some form of acknowledgement. Oct 30, 2012 at 5:57
  • So, in that case, the word disregards will be better in this example - Teacher Jill acknowledges my abilities but teacher Johnny disregards the acknowledgement that Jill have made.
    – Jack
    Oct 30, 2012 at 7:30

"Reject" would be the opposite of "approve," not of "acknowledge." Can you explain why the form uses "acknowledge"? Technically, upon reviewing the form, the content of the form has been acknowledged by the reader, so marking the form "un-acknowledged" (or ignored or disregarded) sounds as if it may not make sense.

To answer your question, though, "ignore" and "disregard" are both suitable opposites for "acknowledge."

  • The reason is that the form, if acknowledged, it will be sent to a higher authority for approval. If the form is "ignore" or "reject" or "disregard", it will not be sent to the higher authority for approval and an email will be sent to the user to inform that his/her form is not acknowledged.
    – Jack
    Oct 30, 2012 at 4:54

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