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 The art of distressing denim is one that many jean companies have mastered—and even made more environmentally acceptable—since interest spiked in the mid-’70s amidst the rise of boho style. Jane Herman, Vogue, 7 Apr. 2024 Nothing less than the full sentence under the law for his violent and senseless actions is acceptable. Jade Thomas, The Indianapolis Star, 5 Apr. 2024 The Equal Opportunity Department declined to investigate the issue while the attorney general case is ongoing, but members of the union say this is not acceptable. Kira Caspers, The Arizona Republic, 5 Apr. 2024 These days, creating a honeymoon fund and asking people to contribute is not only acceptable but embraced by guests. Erin Clack, Peoplemag, 31 Mar. 2024 That document says the project is also dependent on funding from the team in an amount acceptable to the county. Mike Hendricks, Kansas City Star, 30 Mar. 2024 Bereavement isn't even an acceptable use of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Rachel Montañez, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 If Kyiv were to destroy Russia’s wheat and fertilizer exports to damage the Russian economy, many would surely argue that such behavior was acceptable, even if many civilians outside the zone of conflict were harmed in the process. Zach Helder, Foreign Affairs, 22 Mar. 2024 Laird, who was one of the paper’s authors, said districts need more detailed policies and better training for their teachers on how to handle AI, including what uses are acceptable and what’s off limits. Silas Allen, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 27 Mar. 2024

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 19 Apr. 2024.

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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