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 Today, Americans are less worried about government censorship than about navigating the unwritten rules of socially acceptable speech. Adam Kirsch, WSJ, "Land of Free (and Fettered) Speech," 4 Sep. 2020 The pandemic also has deferred the deadline to get an identification acceptable for U.S. air travel. Ryan Randazzo, The Arizona Republic, "Is your driver's license about to expire? Arizona just extended the renewal deadline," 2 Sep. 2020 This method is perfectly acceptable for building cabinet carcasses or drawer boxes. Richard Romanski, Popular Mechanics, "How To Make a Box," 29 Aug. 2020 DeSantis did not explain, however, why 6 feet of social distancing is recommended in most public places but closer distances are acceptable on an airplane. Marc Freeman,, "Florida governor urges people to get back to flying, saying it’s safe from COVID-19," 28 Aug. 2020 Even invitations to meet up outside, masked and distanced, can be avoided with a socially acceptable excuse that doesn’t involve disclosing a misunderstood mood disorder. National Geographic, "Why seasonal depression can happen in the summer too," 26 Aug. 2020 The problem for Trump as Nov. 3 approaches, potentially, is that the suburban voters crucial to his first victory have been defecting, deciding that what was good for the campaign trail is not acceptable in the Oval Office. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "GOP convention message: Trump is nice, but not too nice to get the job done," 26 Aug. 2020 When asked whether crowded hallways, like one pictured in a viral photo from a school in Georgia, were acceptable for school days, Manning said the situation wasn’t optimal. Emily Bamforth, cleveland, "Back-to-school safety during coronavirus: 5 takeaways from top Ohio children’s doctors," 11 Aug. 2020 Our society frowns on such things as casual misogyny, body shaming, and eating babies, which were quite acceptable in the late nineties and early two-thousands. Dave Schilling, The New Yorker, "The Criterion Channel Presents the Legendary Director Peter Bogdanovich on the Lasting Influence of “Austin Powers in Goldmember”," 22 Aug. 2020

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

8 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Acceptable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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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

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