ac·​cept·​able ik-ˈsep-tə-bəl How to pronounce acceptable (audio)
 also  ek-
: capable or worthy of being accepted
an acceptable noise level
socially acceptable behavior
a compromise that is acceptable to both sides
: welcome, pleasing
Compliments are always acceptable.
: barely satisfactory or adequate
The performances varied from excellent to acceptable.
acceptability noun
acceptableness noun
ik-ˈsep-tə-blē How to pronounce acceptable (audio)
 also  ek-

Examples of acceptable in a Sentence

acceptable and unacceptable noise levels It was an acceptable performance, although not an outstanding one. She plays an acceptable game of tennis.
Recent Examples on the Web Portals to another universe are acceptable, on the condition that the universe in question is no larger than 4.5 x 5 x 6 inches. Hayley Tillett, The New Yorker, 24 Sep. 2023 The important thing is finding a good compromise, the acceptable sacrifice for both parties. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, 21 Sep. 2023 With that in mind, this grade of performance drop might be acceptable, but this isn't the Ally's primary function. PCMAG, 18 Sep. 2023 Expecting you to clean up the results of incontinence is neither reasonable nor acceptable. Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York Times, 15 Sep. 2023 The fact that Black boys are disproportionately restrained in the county is not acceptable, school board member Robyn Scates said. Thomas Goodwin Smith, Baltimore Sun, 12 Sep. 2023 The key, of course, is to give your cat a place to scratch that both of you find acceptable. Mary Jo Dilonardo, Treehugger, 10 Sep. 2023 Chelsea boots are becoming a bigger part of men's formalwear and are now an acceptable alternative to oxford shoes for weddings. Brad Lanphear, Men's Health, 8 Sep. 2023 Refined Carbohydrates White flour and sugars are acceptable in moderation, yet pervasive in the SAD (standard American diet). Karla Walsh, Better Homes & Gardens, 11 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'acceptable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Late Latin acceptābilis, from Latin acceptāre "to accept" + -bilis "capable of (being acted upon)" — more at -able

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of acceptable was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near acceptable

Cite this Entry

“Acceptable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


ac·​cept·​able ik-ˈsep-tə-bəl How to pronounce acceptable (audio)
: capable or worthy of being accepted : satisfactory
an acceptable excuse
: barely good enough
plays an acceptable game
acceptability noun
acceptably adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on acceptable

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