have a nodding acquaintance with someone


Senior Member
Hello! Can we use interchangeably 2 below phrases. If yes, do they mean exactly the same?

1. I only know Tim by sight. In fact, I have never met him.
2. I only have a nodding acquaintance with Tom. In fact, I have never met him.

Here I mean two phrases “ have a nodding acquaintance with someone” and “ “know someone by sight”.
Please correct my sentences above if there is any mistake there Thank you!
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hullo Tom. They're not really interchangeable, no. A nodding acquaintance might only be very slight, but it is nonetheless an acquaintance. Knowing someone only by sight isn't an acquaintance at all:)


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I know Vladimir Putin by sight, because I've seen photographs of him, but I've never met him. As ewie posted, I don't even have a nodding acquaintance with him.

    (This phrase means that you know someone well enough to nod your head to them in recognition when you see them, but you're not close friends.)


    Senior Member
    Thank you guys. In my language translation to these phrases is exactly the same, but thanks to you I can understand now the difference in English. Thank you


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Welcome to the forum, Tomtompl.

    I agree with the foregoing. I'd say I have a nodding acquaintance with a number of people who live on my block. If we pass on the street, we usually greet each other, and we may make a remark about the weather. We're aware that we're neighbors, but that's all.
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