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" took until 1574. 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 1 Dec. 2021.

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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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