Skip to main content

Acknowledge vs Admit vs Own vs Avow vs Confess

Acknowledge, admit, own, avow and confess all mean to disclose against one’s will or inclination.

What’s the difference?

Acknowledge implies the disclosing of something that has been or might be concealed.

  • She refuses to acknowledge the need for reform.

Admit stresses reluctance to disclose, grant, or concede and refers usually to facts rather than their implications.

  • She stubbornly refuses to admit the truth.

Own implies acknowledging something in close relation to oneself.

  • She owned she had been present.

Avow implies boldly declaring what one might be expected to be silent about.

  • An aide avowed that the President had known nothing of the deals.

Confess may apply to an admission of a weakness, failure, omission, or guilt.

  • She was reluctant to confess her ignorance.