Admit ticket photo

Admit It – You Want to Know More

Today’s word of choice is “admit.” This piece of vocabulary is loaded with various definitions, real-life applications, uses in the legal world, and instances of getting permission. In this article, we will attempt to cover the magnitude of this one word and all the different forms, nuances, and meanings that come with it. Have you ever broken an item that you borrowed from a friend and had to confess to your mistake? Have you ever been denied entry to a restaurant after you mistakenly forgot to check the dress code? Has anyone you know ever had to stay in the hospital overnight? All of these cases involve the word “admit.” Join us as we decipher the countless ways to use this word, from easy daily applications to less common creative idioms. 


As we mentioned before, the word “admit” is a multifaceted and versatile one. Below, we will look at five basic definitions. The first three are related to being allowed entry, while the last two are related to stating the truth. Let’s check them out!

  1. Allow to Enter (Physical Entry)

One of the most common definitions of “admit” refers to being allowed entry into a specific establishment. Technically, any location that requires identification, ticket, or security checks can be said to be admitting you. This can range from movie theaters to nightclubs to government buildings. However, the register of “admit” is quite formal. Therefore, in most daily conversations, we reserve the use of “admit” for places that require stricter and more rigorous checks. For example, if you are allowed to enter a city park as you pass by security, we would say you were “let in.” On the other hand, if that park was hosting a special event that required a ticket bought in advance, you would be admitted. There is a nuance of restriction and exclusivity with this word. Another example is nightclubs, which frequently have strict security checks to ensure the safety of the crowd. If you provide a valid ID and you match the dress code, you will be admitted. 

E.g., “The security guard could not admit the family to Disneyland as they had bought the tickets for the wrong date.”

  1. Allow to Join

Our second definition of “admit” refers to being allowed to join certain elite organizations or programs. Once again, there is a nuance of restriction and the need to meet specific criteria. Perhaps the most common use in this context applies to universities. If, after careful examination of your application, you are accepted into a university, you are admitted. Most universities have a dedicated department that looks over potential students’ applications called the “admissions team.” Furthermore, high-level political organizations can also admit members. For example, if the European Union chooses to expand and allow its applicants, such as Turkey or Ukraine, to join, they would be admitting them into the EU. Other examples include trade unions, exclusive membership-only hobby clubs, and law firms.

E.g., “Marissa was overjoyed when she found out that she was admitted to Harvard University after years of hard work and endless studying.” 

  1. Enter the Hospital 

Our last definition related to entry is concerned with hospitals. Sometimes, when you visit a hospital, you have a consultation with your doctor and are free to go home immediately after. Other times, you must be admitted to the hospital and stay overnight. Being admitted to a hospital means that you will be receiving inpatient care. Basically, you will be assigned a hospital room and bed. 

E.g., “I went to the hospital to check my head after I hit it pretty hard, and they decided to admit me for observation as a precaution.” 

  1. Confess

The first definition of “admit” related to telling the truth refers to a person finally telling the truth about their wrongdoings. It can be applied to small mistakes and big crimes. Admitting your mistakes can happen both before and after you are caught. We often admit our mistakes to lessen the burden and guilt of keeping a secret. Moreover, admitting to a crime on your own initiative can lessen the punishment, as honesty is valued. For example, imagine that you are at home and you knock over your partner’s vase. The vase breaks into many pieces. When your partner comes home and asks what happened to their vase, saying it was you who broke it is admitting it. In a more serious context, we could say that the man admitted to murdering his wife to the police. 

E.g., “The famous swimmer publicly admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in the press conference, instantly losing his gold medal.”

  1. Recognize as True

The second definition related to the truth is recognizing something as fact. If you admit that your coworker’s idea is better than yours, you are publicly acknowledging and agreeing with this statement. We often admit things unwillingly. This is due to the fact we might have disagreed at the beginning. Even though we might not want to, we sometimes have to accept other people’s ideas or opinions as fact. Admitting after disagreeing can show a willingness to compromise and cooperate and is an overall mature approach.

E.g., “The manager admitted that his new dress code policy was unsuccessful after receiving numerous complaints from both staff members and clients.” 

See also: Words and Expressions for Talking About Positive People


The origins of “admit” go back to the Latin word “admittere,” meaning “to send” or “to let go.” From this origin, the word made its way into Old French as “admettre” and in the 14th century into Middle English as “admitten.” At first, this word only held the definition of “allow to enter” and “allow to join.” In the early 15th century, it evolved into another definition related to stating the truth. The basic idea was that when you are requesting entry, you are handing over control to a higher authority that decides whether you can enter or not. Over time, this idea was applied to wrongdoers “surrendering their control” as they confessed to their crimes and mistakes. 

Different Forms and Example Sentences

Admittedly (adverb): Used to recognize that something is the case, especially when we believed otherwise (often used at the start of the sentence)

E.g., “Admittedly, moving to London was much more expensive than I had imagined.”

Admission (noun): Permission to enter / The act of letting someone join

E.g., “Every 3rd Monday of the month, the art gallery offers free admission to all citizens.” 

E.g., “If you have any questions about your application to join the country club, please refer to our admissions department.” 

Admittance (noun): Permission to enter / The act of letting someone join (formal) 

E.g., “We were unable to gain admittance to the VIP section as one of our members has misplaced his badge.”

Admittal (noun): Formal acceptance (formal)(legal jargon) 

E.g., “The judge ordered the immediate admittal of the defendant into a psychiatric facility after the successful insanity plea.”

Admissible (adjective): Acceptable for consideration in a court (legal jargon)

E.g., “The judge ruled that the tape recording was not admissible as evidence since it was obtained without consent.”

See also: When is it Okay to Use Ain’t?


Apart from being used as a lone word, admit also appears in some popular expressions and idioms. Let’s take a look at some useful phrases we can form using “admit” as our base.

Admit it!

“Admit it!” is a great phrase to use when we want to push someone to tell us the truth. It is used to urge our conversation partner to be honest with us or themselves. It can be used to draw out a confession, but also as a way to get the partner to open their eyes to the truth. 

E.g., “Admit it! You are the one who ate my chocolates!” 

E.g., “Come on, admit it! You absolutely knew you would get the job after your interview went so well.” 

I admit, […] 

Starting your sentence with “I admit” lets your conversation partner know that you are about to acknowledge the truth. It can be used to let them know that you have changed your mind or that you have seen the error of your ways. It can be a good way to build trust with our listeners. 

E.g., “I admit, when you first mentioned getting a dog, I was skeptical. But now I love him so much!”

E.g., “I admit, I wasn’t the friendliest to you when we met. I’m sorry about that.” 

Admission of guilt (legal jargon)

The phrase “admission of guilt” appears in legal proceedings. It is legal jargon that is mostly used in the courtroom and is not used in everyday matters. You can often hear this phrase in law-themed TV shows. It is the official act of a wrongdoer admitting their crime. 

E.g., “In exchange for a full admission of guilt, the lawyers offered the criminal a plea deal with a reduced prison sentence.”

To admit defeat (idiom) 

Admitting defeat is an idiom that refers to us acknowledging that we have failed or that we have officially given up. 

E.g., “My son thought that he could fix his car by himself, but after hours of trying, he finally admitted defeat and called a mechanic.” 

Synonyms & Antonyms

  1. Confess / Deny

A synonym for “admit” is confess. However, confessing is stronger than admitting. Confessing involves more feelings of guilt and the need to come clean. 

On the other hand, denying is refusing to admit the truth. 

  1. Acknowledge / Disagree

A similar word in the context of recognizing something as true is “acknowledge.” However, acknowledging a fact is simply noting its existence. Admitting has a stronger nuance of surrendering to that fact or idea. 

On the contrary, if you refuse to admit that something is true, you are disagreeing with it. 

  1. Let in / Turn away

Letting someone in is the same as admitting them (as in allowing them to enter). Letting in has a much more casual tone compared to “admit.” 

An antonym in this context is “turn someone away.” 

  1. Accept / Reject

Another way to say “admit” when talking about allowing someone to join is “accept.” These are very close synonyms. “Admit” tends to be more formal and serious.

The opposite word in this context is “reject.” 

  1. Hospitalized / Discharged

Another way to say “admitted to the hospital” is “hospitalized.” However, this sounds a little bit more serious. 

On the other hand, we can use “discharged” when we are officially allowed to leave the hospital. 

You have made it to the end of our exploration of “admit.” We hope that as you continue your English studies, you will keep on deeply examining the meanings of such important and multifaceted words, and you will never admit defeat! 

See also: 28 Better Ways to Say “Very Bad”

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