Acclimation vs. Acclamation: What’s the Difference?

English has a lot of confusing words in its vocabulary. Whether it be words that sound alike, words that are spelled alike, or words that have similar meanings, it seems like the list goes on and on. Today, I want to go over a set of homophones that confuse people in their daily writing: acclimation vs. acclamation.

These two words are homophones; they share identical pronunciations, so it is impossible to tell them apart from one another with the spoken word outside of context. They are spelled differently, however, but even this is a one-letter difference that separates them. It’s easy to see how people can get these two words confused.

In this post I want to go over the differences between acclimation and acclamation, their definitions and functions within a sentence, and give you a few tricks to keep track of them.

When to Use Acclimation

how to use acclimate and acclamation correcltyAcclimation is defined as “the process of acclimating or of becoming acclimated.” To acclimate is “to accustom or become accustomed to a new environment or situation.” For example,

  • When going to Denver, it will take a few days to get acclimated to the altitude.
  • The acclimated period when moving to a new city can be several months.

As you can see, to acclimate and acclimation both have to do with getting used to something that is new. Someone who is placed is a new situation or new job will need time to “acclimate” to his new surroundings, so it’s important to remember that acclimation deals with a period of time.

When to Use Acclamation

Acclamation, no matter how similar it may sounds to acclimation, has a completely different meaning. An acclamation is a “shout or salute of enthusiastic approval.” For example,

  • By acclamation I would like to introduce the next President of the United States.
  • The young pianist has received acclamation from audiences worldwide.
  • After scoring the game-winning touchdown, the stadium was brought to its feet in acclamation.
  • When the band came on stage, the stadium erupted in acclamation.

Another difference between these two words is that acclamation does not function as a verb. While acclimation has a noun and verb form, acclimation is only a noun. Acclamation does, however, have an adjective form, acclamatory.

Remember the Difference

If you just got down reading these two definitions and you still don’t know how you’re going to keep track of these words, don’t worry. There is a good memory trick that I use to help myself.

You can remember what acclimate means by thinking that time is involved, and all the letters for time are in the words acclimate but not acclamation. This may be a stretch, but it is how I remember it. Let me know if you have a better trick.

To remember acclamation is easy. Acclamation is similar to the word exclamation. They both have to do with oral and auditory noises, and the both end in “lamation.”

Summary

These are two very different words, but we need to make sure we know when to use acclamation vs. acclimation.

Acclimation is a period of time when you are getting acclimated or used to something.

Acclamation is a loud, enthusiastic approval of something, typically to welcome or honor someone.