ac·​cep·​ta·​tion | \ ˌak-ˌsep-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce acceptation (audio) \

Definition of acceptation

1 : acceptance especially : favorable reception or approval
2 : a generally accepted meaning of a word or understanding of a concept

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Acceptation is older than its synonym acceptance; it first appeared in print in the 15th century, whereas acceptance makes a 16th-century appearance. Grammarian H. W. Fowler insisted in 1926 that acceptation and acceptance were not actually synonymous (he preferred to reserve acceptation for the "accepted meaning" use), but the earliest meaning of acceptation was indeed acceptance. Both words descend from the Anglo-French word accepter ("to accept"), but acceptation took an extra step. Anglo-French added the -ation ending, which was changed to form acceptacioun in Middle English. (English embraced the present-day -ation ending later.) Acceptance simply comes from accepter plus the Anglo-French -ance.

Examples of acceptation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The use of chainsaws to cut down trees prior to intentionally burning a stand, known as prescribed fire, is the major acceptation. San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Sep. 2021

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

First Known Use of acceptation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for acceptation

Middle English acceptacioun, borrowed from Anglo-French acceptation, borrowed from Late Latin acceptātiōn-, acceptātiō, from Latin acceptāre "to accept" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns

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The first known use of acceptation was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Acceptation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on acceptation

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for acceptation

Nglish: Translation of acceptation for Spanish Speakers


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