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 Is my solution acceptable to Miss Manners, or is this rude and not being a good host? Jacobina Martin, Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2023 The new law eliminated previously acceptable non-photo options, such as a utility bill, bank statement, government check, or paycheck. Summer Ballentine, The Christian Science Monitor, 17 Nov. 2023 Paramedics waiting 1-2 hours in the ER for a bed and a nurse to assume care is a situation that should never be deemed acceptable. Gretchen Morgenson, NBC News, 13 Nov. 2023 Whether any of them can become socially acceptable or withstand the scrutiny of the fashion police is a major question. WIRED, 9 Nov. 2023 Businesses are struggling with how to address the conflict and to draw clear boundaries around acceptable speech on the topic. Mike Isaac, New York Times, 8 Nov. 2023 But they have been made equally attractive, each in his own contrasting way, in order to maintain the mystery of where Nan’s future may lie, and to make either choice acceptable to the viewer. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 7 Nov. 2023 Incidental collection is factored into the program as an acceptable risk to Americans’ civil liberties, ameliorated by various internal procedures approved by the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. WIRED, 10 Nov. 2023 Both the PlayStation 5, the Xbox Series X/S and their immediate predecessors are perfectly acceptable streaming devices. Geoffrey Morrison,, 9 Nov. 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 7 Dec. 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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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