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Assent vs Consent vs Accede vs Acquiesce vs Agree vs Subscribe

Assent, Consent, Accede, Acquiesce, Agree, Subscribe and their corresponding nouns express in common the idea of concurrence with what someone else has stated or proposed.

Assent implies primarily an act of the understanding and applies to opinions or propositions.

  • one was convinced and believed and assented
  • whatever is expressed with art—whether it be a lover’s despair or a metaphysical theory—pierces the mind and compels assent and acceptance

Consent involves the will or the feelings and indicates compliance with what is requested or desired; thus, a lady may assent to a gentleman’s opinion on the weather, but if he makes a proposal of marriage she must either consent to or reject his offer.

  • if a thing has been practiced for two hundred years by common consent, it will need a strong case for the Fourteenth Amendment to affect it
    Justice Holmes

Neither assent nor consent necessarily implies approval.

  • a parent may assent against his better judgment

Accede implies a yielding either of one’s adherence (as to a cause) or of one’s assent (as to a statement or proposal).

  • even if Americans once worked a revolution of which they are proud, we need not feel so bound by this fact that we demurely accede to every other revolution, regardless of its methods, purposes, and consequences
    Yale Review
  • Mr. Bennet could have no hesitation in acceding to the proposal before him

Acquiesce implies tacit acceptance or forbearance of opposition.

  • no organism acquiesces in its own destruction

Agree may or may not imply previous difference of opinion, but it very often carries an implication of this and also of previous discussion, negotiation, or attempts at persuasion.

  • he reluctantly agreed that his son be allowed to choose his own college
  • post, my lord, to France; agree to any covenants

Subscribe denotes assent but it implies in addition hearty approval; it seldom implies actually signing one’s name in token of assent, but it does connote a willingness to go on record.

  • no one would subscribe at present to the Kantian doctrine, that mathematics derive their validity from their applicability to sensible experience
    A lexander