nodding acquaintance


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.
a person with whom one is only slightly acquainted: I don't really know what he's like—he's only a nodding acquaintance.

Nearby words

  1. nodal escape,
  2. nodal extrasystole,
  3. nodal point,
  4. nodal rhythm,
  5. noddack,
  6. nodding dog,
  7. nodding donkey,
  8. nodding lilac,
  9. nodding pogonia,
  10. nodding spasm

Origin of nodding acquaintance

First recorded in 1860–65 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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.