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nodding acquaintance

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noun
  1. a slight, incomplete, or superficial knowledge (of something or someone): He had only a nodding acquaintance with Italian and didn't trust it to get him through the tour. Although we were neighbors for several years, we had only a nodding acquaintance.
  2. a person with whom one is only slightly acquainted: I don't really know what he's like—he's only a nodding acquaintance.

Origin of nodding acquaintance

First recorded in 1860–65
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Idioms and Phrases with nodding acquaintance

nodding acquaintance

Superficial knowledge of someone or something, as in I have a nodding acquaintance with the company president, or She has a nodding acquaintance with that software program. This expression alludes to knowing someone just well enough to nod or bow upon meeting him or her. “Early 1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.