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Acknowledgment (law)

In law, an acknowledgment is a declaration or avowal of one's own act, used to authenticate legal instruments, which may give the instrument legal validity, and works to prevent the recording of false instruments or fraudulent executions. Acknowledgement involves a public official, frequently a notary public. The party executing the legal instrument orally declares that the instrument is his or her act or deed, and the official prepares a certificate attesting to the declaration. Acknowledgments are distinct from jurats, verifications, and attestations. A jurat differs from an acknowledgement in that a jurat lacks the statement that the instrument is the act or deed of the party executing it. A verification is distinct in that it seeks to verify the factual contents of the instrument, rather than the instrument itself. Finally, an attestation occurs where a third person gives his or her name as a witness to the actual execution of an instrument. Normally, acknowledgments only serve evidentiary purposes, but some jurisdictions have made acknowledgement a requirement for recording of instruments.


Acknowledge or acknowledgment may refer to:

  • In the creative arts and sciences, a statement of gratitude for assistance in producing a work
    • Acknowledgment index, an experimental method for automatically analyzing acknowledgements in the scientific literature
  • Acknowledgment (law), a declaration or avowal of one's own act, to give it legal validity
    • Service of process, Acknowledgment of service
  • Acknowledgement of receipt, a postal service
  • "Acknowledgement" (song), a song from John Coltrane's 1965 album, A Love Supreme
  • Acknowledgement (data networks), a signal used to indicate acknowledgement, specifically:
    • ACK, a flag used in the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) to acknowledge receipt of a packet
    • Acknowledge character, an ASCII control character
    • Negative-acknowledge character, an ASCII control character

Acknowledgment (creative arts and sciences)

In the creative arts and scientific literature, an acknowledgment (also spelled acknowledgement) is an expression of gratitude for assistance in creating an original work.

Receiving credit by way of acknowledgment rather than authorship indicates that the person or organization did not have a direct hand in producing the work in question, but may have contributed funding, criticism, or encouragement to the author(s). Various schemes exist for classifying acknowledgments; Cronin et al.give the following six categories:

  1. moral support
  2. financial support
  3. editorial support
  4. presentational support
  5. instrumental/technical support
  6. conceptual support, or peer interactive communication (PIC)

Apart from citation, which is not usually considered to be an acknowledgment, acknowledgment of conceptual support is widely considered to be the most important for identifying intellectual debt. Some acknowledgments of financial support, on the other hand, may simply be legal formalities imposed by the granting institution. Occasionally, bits of science humor can also be found in acknowledgments.

There have been some attempts to extract bibliometric indices from the acknowledgments section (also called "acknowledgments paratext") of research papers in order to evaluate the impact of the acknowledged individuals, sponsors and funding agencies.

The Collaborative International Dictionary


Acknowledgment \Ac*knowl"edg*ment\, Acknowledgement \Ac*knowl"edge*ment\ ([a^]k*n[o^]l"[e^]j*ment), n.

  1. The act of acknowledging; admission; avowal; owning; confession. ``An acknowledgment of fault.''

  2. The act of owning or recognizing in a particular character or relationship; recognition as regards the existence, authority, truth, or genuineness; a statement acknowledging something or someone.

    Immediately upon the acknowledgment of the Christian faith, the eunuch was baptized by Philip.

  3. The owning of a benefit received; courteous recognition; the state or quality of being recognized or acknowledged; an expression of thanks.

    Syn: recognition

  4. Something given or done in return for a favor, message, etc.

  5. A declaration or avowal of one's own act, to give it legal validity; as, the acknowledgment of a deed before a proper officer. Also, the certificate of the officer attesting such declaration.

    Acknowledgment money, in some parts of England, a sum paid by copyhold tenants, on the death of their landlords, as an acknowledgment of their new lords.

    Syn: Confession; concession; recognition; admission; avowal; recognizance.



n. 1 The act of acknowledge; admission; avowal; owning; confession. 2 The act of owning or recognizing in a particular character or relationship; recognition as regards the existence, authority, truth, or genuineness. 3 An award or other expression or token of appreciation. 4 An owning with gratitude of a benefit or an obligation (as in "acknowledgment" of a favor). 5 A message from the addressee informing the originator that the originator's communication has been received and understood, as a wedding invitation's ''acknowledgment''. 6 (context Telecommunications computing networking English) A response (ACK) sent by a receiver to indicate successful receipt of a transmission. 7 An owning as genuine or valid; an avowing or admission in legal form (as in "acknowledgment of a deed"). 8 (context legal English) A formal statement or document recognizing the fulfillment or execution of a legal requirement or procedure.



  1. n. the state or quality of being recognized or acknowledged; "the partners were delighted with the recognition of their work"; "she seems to avoid much in the way of recognition or acknowledgement of feminist work prior to her own" [syn: recognition, acknowledgement]

  2. a short note recognizing a source of information or of a quoted passage; "the student's essay failed to list several important citations"; "the acknowledgments are usually printed at the front of a book"; "the article includes mention of similar clinical cases" [syn: citation, credit, reference, mention, quotation]

  3. a statement acknowledging something or someone; "she must have seen him but she gave no sign of acknowledgment"; "the preface contained an acknowledgment of those who had helped her" [syn: acknowledgement]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary


alternative form of acknowledgement. OED deems it "a spelling more in accordance with Eng. values of letters."

Usage examples of "acknowledgment".

Carthage was condemned to pay within the term of fifty years, were a slight acknowledgment of the superiority of Rome, and cannot bear the least proportion with the taxes afterwards raised both on the lands and on the persons of the inhabitants, when the fertile coast of Africa was reduced into a province.

His defence was firm, his submission was not inglorious, and the emperor was content with an easy tribute, the demolition of his fortresses, and the acknowledgment, on his coins, of a supreme lord.

The maritime cities, and of these the infant republic of Ragusa, implored the aid and instructions of the Byzantine court: they were advised by the magnanimous Basil to reserve a small acknowledgment of their fidelity to the Roman empire, and to appease, by an annual tribute, the wrath of these irresistible Barbarians.

Othman emperor still accepts from Egypt a slight acknowledgment of tribute and subjection.

Few can grasp with understanding that acknowledgment of the Lord, and acknowledgment that all good and truth are from Him, cause one to be reformed and regenerated.

The only difference is the acknowledgment which a man ought to make, that he does good and thinks truth not of himself but from the Lord, and hence that the good he does and the truth he thinks are not his.

The English, despite the fact that they are in the doctrine of faith alone, nevertheless in the exhortation to the Holy Communion openly teach self-examination, acknowledgment, confession of sins, penitence and renewal of life, and warn those who do not do these things with the words that otherwise the devil will enter into them as he did into Judas, fill them with all iniquity, and destroy both body and soul.

These words are read out by the priest in a deep voice to all who are about to observe the Holy Supper, and are listened to by them in full acknowledgment that they are true.

That there can be no forgiveness of sins, thus no salvation but only eternal damnation, apart from self-examination, the knowledge and acknowledgment, confession and breaking off of sins, that is, apart from repentance?

And yet none of these things purifies man at all unless he examines himself, sees his sins, acknowledges them, condemns himself on account of them, and repents by desisting from them, and does all this as of himself, yet with the acknowledgment in heart that he does so from the Lord.

When only a miracle leads a person to acknowledgment of God and to adoration and piety, he acts from the natural and not the spiritual man.

All who receive influx from heaven and acknowledge divine providence, especially those who have become spiritual through reformation, on beholding events taking a wonderful course see providence as it were from an interior acknowledgment and confess it.

I perceived that those who have confirmed themselves in favor of nature and of human prudence would not make the acknowledgment because the natural light flowing in from below would immediately extinguish the spiritual light flowing in from above.

The man who has become spiritual by acknowledgment of God, and wise by rejection of the proprium, sees divine providence in the world as a whole and in each and all things in it.

This acknowledgment lies hidden in all evil, however the evil may be veiled by good and truth, which are borrowed raiment, or like wreaths of perishable flowers, put around the evil lest it appear in its nakedness.