ac·​cept·​able | \ ik-ˈsep-tə-bəl How to pronounce acceptable (audio) , ak- also ek- \

Definition of acceptable

1 : capable or worthy of being accepted an acceptable noise level socially acceptable behavior a compromise that is acceptable to both sides
2a : welcome, pleasing Compliments are always acceptable.
b : barely satisfactory or adequate The performances varied from excellent to acceptable.

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Other Words from acceptable

acceptability \ ik-​ˌsep-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce acceptability (audio) , (ˌ)ak-​ , ek-​ \ noun
acceptableness \ ik-​ˈsep-​tə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce acceptableness (audio) , ak-​ \ noun
acceptably \ ik-​ˈsep-​tə-​blē How to pronounce acceptably (audio) , ak-​ also  ek-​ \ adverb

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Asserting an acceptable motive doesn’t prove there was no sinister plan. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "A new House Judiciary Committee report counters six “fallacies of impeachment”," 7 Dec. 2019 Restoring overtime pay to an acceptable level as quickly as possible will help restore fair pay and work-family balance for hundreds of thousands of working Coloradans. Heidi Shierholz, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Protect Colorado’s middle-class workers, now," 6 Dec. 2019 The acceptable amount is zero, yet these numbers continue to grow. Kc Baker,, "2018 ‘Yearbook’ Memorializing School Shooting Victims to be Sent to Pres. Trump, Senate," 5 Dec. 2019 However, neither are ever acceptable — even in rare or isolated instances. Jackie Borchardt,, "Ohio elections: 47 non-citizens in Southwest Ohio referred for illegally registering to vote," 5 Dec. 2019 According to this reasoning, if Watergate had happened during Nixon’s first term, and he had been reëlected anyway, attempted political burglary and obstruction of justice would have become acceptable practice. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "Stop Saying That Impeachment Is Political," 27 Nov. 2019 The many other forms of ID deemed acceptable under the law do not have similar requirements. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lawsuit says student ID voting restrictions violate 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18," 20 Nov. 2019 But it’s no longer acceptable to mitigate risk by quietly letting someone leave. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "NSF unwittingly hired a professor guilty of bullying, highlighting the ‘pass the harasser’ problem," 18 Nov. 2019 Not too shabby for a courageous Broadway visionary and a team of desperate animators who were willing to push social boundaries, advocating a message of gender fluidity and female empowerment that wouldn’t become widely acceptable until much later. Michael Landis, Smithsonian, "‘The Little Mermaid’ Was Way More Subversive Than You Realized," 5 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acceptable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of acceptable

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for acceptable

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

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Time Traveler for acceptable

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for acceptable

Last Updated

10 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Acceptable.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 13 December 2019.

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More Definitions for acceptable


ac·​cept·​able | \ ik-ˈsep-tə-bəl How to pronounce acceptable (audio) , ak- \

Kids Definition of acceptable

1 : worthy of being accepted an acceptable excuse
2 : adequate sense 2 He plays an acceptable game of tennis.

Other Words from acceptable

acceptably \ -​blē \ adverb

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Comments on acceptable

What made you want to look up acceptable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


easily led, controlled, or managed

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