ac·​cep·​ta·​tion ˌak-ˌsep-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce acceptation (audio)
: acceptance
especially : favorable reception or approval
: a generally accepted meaning of a word or understanding of a concept

Did you know?

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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'acceptation.' 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 acceptacioun, borrowed from Anglo-French acceptation, borrowed from Late Latin acceptātiōn-, acceptātiō, from Latin acceptāre "to accept" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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


Dictionary Entries Near acceptation

Cite this Entry

“Acceptation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ac·​cep·​ta·​tion ˌak-ˌsep-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce acceptation (audio)
: the generally understood meaning of a word or expression

More from Merriam-Webster on acceptation

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!