What Does ACK Mean in a Text?

homesearch aACK
The interjection ACK is used to express "Distaste, Dismay or Mild Alarm." It can also mean "Acknowledge." Here is more information about each of these definitions of ACK. Examples of use can be found below.

Distaste, Dismay or Mild Alarm

In internet forums and in text-based messaging, ACK is typically used to indicate distaste, dismay or alarm at something that someone has typed. This usage of ACK is believed to stem from the term's similarity with the word "Yuck," which is commonly used to express distaste.


ACK is also used to mean "Acknowledge," as in to confirm receipt or understanding of a message. This way of using ACK is probably based on military and law-enforcement usage of the word "Acknowledge" in communications. It may also be based on data communication protocols, many of which are "ACK based," meaning that they automatically acknowledge receipt of messages by sending a coded reply.

Image for ACK

When I write ACK, I mean this:

meaning of ACK

ACK also means "Acknowledge."

Summary of Key Points

"Distaste, Dismay or Mild Alarm" is the most common definition for ACK on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Definition:Distaste, Dismay or Mild Alarm
Guessability:guessability level 2
2: Quite easy to guess
Typical Users:typical user

Adults and Teenagers

Second Definition for ACK

ACK also means "Acknowledge."
Guessability:guessability level 2
2: Quite easy to guess
Typical Users:typical user

Adults and Teenagers

Examples of ACK in Sentences

Here are examples of ACK being used in conversations:
  • Sam: Have you tried the frozen yogurt from the new store in the mall?
  • Rob: ACK! All that sugar makes me want to puke!

  • (Here, ACK indicates distaste.)
  • Kim: Remember, you have to wear a mask to go inside.
  • Helen: ACK! I've forgotten mine. Can I borrow yours?
  • Kim: ACK, that's disgusting! You can't share a face mask!

  • (Here, ACK indicates mild alarm and is an expression of distaste.)
  • Ben: Pick you up at 7?
  • Gerry: ACK.

  • (Here, ACK means "Acknowledge.")

An Academic Look at ACK

When used to express surprise or disgust, ACK is an interjection. An interjection is not grammatically related to any other part of the sentence. It is included in a sentence (usually at the start) to express a sentiment such as surprise, disgust, joy, excitement, or enthusiasm. In formal writing, interjections are offset from the surrounding words with commas. For example:
  • ACK, what's that smell?

  • (Here, ACK is an interjection expressing disgust.)
  • ACK, What was that noise?

  • (Here, ACK is an interjection expressing alarm.)
When used to mean "Acknowledge," ACK is used as a standalone declarative sentence (i.e., a statement). In other words, it is not used as another part of speech within a wider sentence.

What Did We Say before Texting and Social Media?

Before the digital era, we would probably have said something like "Yuck" instead of using ACK to express disgust.

Example of ACK Used in a Text

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