Word: acquiesce

Pronunciation: a-kwee-ES

Part of Speech: verb

Definition: accept something reluctantly but without protest

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Elizabeth Swann: Captain Barbossa, I am here to negotiate the cessation of hostilities against Port Royal.

Captain Barbossa: There are a lot of long words in there, Miss; we’re naught but humble pirates. What is it that you want?

Elizabeth: I want you to leave and never come back.

Barbossa: I’m disinclined to acquiesce to your request. …Means “no”.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Ten years ago, Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films released the first in a series of movies based on the beloved Disney ride “Pirates of the Caribbean”. I remember watching it as a teenager and really enjoying it, mostly for how certain details of it took me back to our Walt Disney World trips during my childhood (the dog with the keys, anyone?). I also remember laughing at the above dialogue for Captain Barbossa’s wit in conversing with Elizabeth Swann, not to mention the handful of “long words” they used with which I wasn’t yet familiar. While I could just as easily have gone with any of the others, I chose to feature in this segment the word I considered the most interesting. I hope you’ll agree!

To “acquiesce” in a request or proposal is to accept it without protest, albeit reluctantly so. The word comes from the Latin verb acquiescere, meaning “assent” or “submit”. This word is made up of two roots: the preposition ad- “to, at” and the verb quiescere “to rest”.

Honestly, I haven’t heard the word “acquiesce” used much outside of the first Pirates movie. I do think it sounds rather elegant, though, which is why I wouldn’t mind using it occasionally (that is, sparingly) in my writing to add to the flow of a story. I should also note that I can’t be certain if Captain Barbossa used the correct preposition after “acquiesce”; the only examples I’ve found use “in” instead of “to”, but I haven’t yet been able to find out if “to” is also fine, so be sure to use the word carefully. Still, even without ever having heard the word before, it’s pretty clear from context that the captain is blatantly refusing to agree to the young lady’s proposal. He may be just a humble pirate, but you have to admit, Barbossa did find a pretty clever way to say “no”!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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