A Dictionary of the English Language
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Acqua'intance. n.s. [accointance, Fr.]

  1. The state of being acquainted with; familiarity, knowledge. It is applied as well to persons as things, with the particle with.

    Nor was his acquaintance less with the famous poets of his age, than with the nobleman and ladies. Dryd.

    Our admiration of a famous man lessens upon our nearer acquaintance with him; we seldom hear of a celebrated person, without a catalogue of some notorious weaknesses and infirmities. Addis. Spectator, № 256.

    Would we be admitted into an acquaintance with God: let us study to resemble him. We must be partakers of a divine nature, in order to partake of this high privilege and alliance. Atterbury's Sermons.

  2. Familiar knowledge, simply without preposition.

                        Brave soldier, pardon me,
    That any accent breaking from my tongue,
    Should 'scape the true acquaintance of mine ear.
    Shak. K. John.

    This keeps the understanding long in converse with an object, and long converse brings acquaintance. South's Sermons.

    In what manner he lived with those who were of his neighbourhood and acquaintance, how obliging his carriage was to them, what kind offices he did, and was always ready to do them, I forbear particularly to say. Atterbury's Sermons.

  3. A slight or initial knowledge, short of friendship, as applied to persons.

    I hope I am pretty near seeing you, and therefore I would cultivate an acquaintance; because if you do not know me when we meet, you need only keep one of my letters, and compare it with my face; for my face and letters are counterparts of my heart. Swift to Pope, Letter xii.

    A long noviciate of acquaintance should precede the vows of friendship. Bolingbroke.

  4. The person with whom we are acquainted; he of whom we have some knowledge, without intimacy of friendship.

    In this sense, the plural is, in some authors, acquaintance, in others acquaintances.

    But she, all vow'd unto the red-cross knight,
    His wand'ring peril closely did lament,
    Ne in this new acquaintance could delight,
    But her dear heart with anguish did torment.
    F. Queen, b. i.

    That young men travel under some tutor, I allow well, so that he be such a one that may be able to tell them, what acquaintances they are to seek, what exercises or discipline the place yieldeth. Bacon, Essay xix.

    This, my lord, has justly acquired you as many friends, as there are persons who have the honour to be known to you; meer acquaintance you have none, you have drawn them all into a nearer line; and they who have conversed with you, are for ever after inviolably yours. Dryd. Juvenal, Dedicat.

    We see he is ashamed of his nearest acquaintances. Boyle against Bentley.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Atterbury, Francis (75) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Boyle, Robert (84) · Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's King John (43) · South, Robert (158) · Spectator (140) · Spenser, Edmund (254) · St. John, Henry (Bolingbroke) (2) · Swift, Jonathan (306)

Attributes: French (385) · Noun Substantive (1269)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Acquaintance." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: December 12, 2013. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/acquaintance/.

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