ac·​count | \ ə-ˈkau̇nt How to pronounce account (audio) \

Definition of account

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a record of debit (see debit entry 2 sense 1a) and credit (see credit entry 1 sense 2d) entries to cover transactions involving a particular item or a particular person or concern
b : a statement of transactions during a fiscal period and the resulting balance
c archaic : reckoning, computation
2a : a statement explaining one's conduct She was asked to give an account of her actions.
b : a statement or exposition of reasons, causes, or motives no satisfactory account of these phenomena
c : a reason for an action : basis On that account I must refuse.
3a(1) : a formal business arrangement providing for regular dealings or services (such as banking, advertising, or store credit) and involving the establishment and maintenance of an account a checking account also : client, customer They are one of our most important accounts.
(2) : money deposited in a bank account and subject to withdrawal by the depositor
b : an arrangement in which a person uses the Internet or e-mail services of a particular company
4a : value, importance It's of no account to me.
b : esteem stood high in their account
5 : advantage turned her wit to good account
6a : careful thought : consideration have to take many things into account
b : a usually mental record : track Keep account of all you do.
7 : a description of facts, conditions, or events : report, narrative the newspaper account of the fire By all accounts they're well-off. also : performance a straightforward account of the sonata
give a good account of oneself
: to perform well especially in a competition or confrontation : to acquit oneself well Though he has an aristocratic bearing, he could probably give a good account of himself in a street fight.— Ishmael Reed
on account
: with the price charged to one's account purchasing on account
on account of
: for the sake of : because of The game was cancelled on account of rain.
on no account
: under no circumstances On no account should the children be left alone at home.
on one's own account
1 : on one's own behalf I'm doing it on my own account, not for anyone else.
2 : at one's own risk
3 : by oneself : on one's own


accounted; accounting; accounts

Definition of account (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to furnish a justifying analysis or explanation used with forcouldn't account for the loss
2a : to be the sole or primary factor used with forThe left fielder accounted for all three putouts.
b : to bring about the capture, death, or destruction of something used with forEnemy fighters accounted for two of the bombers.

transitive verb

1 : to think of as : consider accounts himself lucky
2 : to probe into : analyze

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Examples of account in a Sentence

Noun the difference between the debit and credit sides of an account We always keep very good accounts. We opened new accounts at a bank last week. I took out my money and closed my account. You can withdraw up to $1,000 a day from your account. Every week, she puts a part of her paycheck into a separate account. setting up a bank account Verb account themselves lucky to be alive
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun UW-Madison's director of university housing said last week that the refunds would be in the form of a credit to students' campus accounts, meaning the funds would first be used to pay off any outstanding balance, with the rest held for future use. Devi Shastri, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Pretty devastating': UW System estimates campuses will refund $78 million in housing, dining expenses," 27 Mar. 2020 To create an account, input your driver's license number, last four digits of your social security number and ZIP code on this website: Ethan May, Indianapolis Star, "What BMV closures due to coronavirus mean for your driver's license, registration, more," 26 Mar. 2020 But for people with traditional individual retirement accounts, the silver lining is that today’s lower account balances can be used to reduce income-tax bills in retirement. Anne Tergesen, WSJ, "A Strategy for Taking Advantage of the Market Meltdown," 26 Mar. 2020 New York accounts for 56% of all the cases in the United States, and 60% of all new cases, are coming from the New York metro area. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Fort Campbell to deploy field hospital units to help with coronavirus relief efforts," 25 Mar. 2020 After the Treasury disburses that $2 trillion to Americans, whatever doesn't get spent will likely wind up in people's bank accounts, Selgin wagers. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "How does America pay for a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill? With 2 shiny coins, this lawmaker argues," 25 Mar. 2020 What about people without bank accounts, the ostensible reason to force businesses to take cash? Owen Thomas,, "San Francisco should be the world’s laboratory in the fight against the coronavirus," 25 Mar. 2020 Government employees, including those who work for the city and county, account for 12.6 percent of the county’s civilian population, census figures show. Peggy O’hare,, "Federal, state employees exempt from San Antonio, Bexar stay-at-home orders," 25 Mar. 2020 Supply scams: People are creating fake shops, websites, social media accounts, and email addresses claiming to sell medical supplies currently in high demand, such as surgical masks. oregonlive, "Oregon’s U.S. Attorney warns of new fraud schemes exploiting coronavirus pandemic," 20 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The country said health workers accounted for about 15 percent of its cases. Matt Sedensky, Kevin Mcgill And David Rising, Anchorage Daily News, "UK’s Johnson virus positive as new outbreaks appear in US," 28 Mar. 2020 To be eligible the expenditures must be incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30 and not be accounted for in the state or local government’s budget. Tyler Arnold, Washington Examiner, "Tennessee could be eligible for $2.65 billion from federal coronavirus relief package," 27 Mar. 2020 Globally, the number of deaths from COVID-19 had exceeded 22,000, with more than 490 thousand contagions accounted for. Javier Arce, azcentral, "Immigrants in a pandemic: Coronavirus answers for immigrant and Spanish-language communities," 27 Mar. 2020 But so far there have been no measures specifically for the technical service side of the industry, which employs around 15,000 people in more than 600 companies across Germany and accounts for more than $1.1 billion (€1 billion) in annual revenue. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, "German Production Services Firms Call for $400M Coronavirus Rescue Fund," 27 Mar. 2020 The region’s dominance also reflects in transaction volume and value as Sub Saharan Africa accounted for over 60% of the $690 billion transacted through mobile money services last year. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Mobile money crossed a key milestone last year—that’s good news for Africa’s coronavirus battle," 26 Mar. 2020 There were even special appearances from some of the most high-profile people in politics; Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Bernie Sanders were present and accounted for. Ineye Komonibo,, "What You Need To Know About DJ DNice’s Quarantine Club, The Only Bright Spot In All This," 26 Mar. 2020 The company, which makes money off processing fees for donations, partnered with Yelp to allow businesses to launch GoFundMe accounts directly from their pages. Washington Post, "The Technology 202: Here's how tech is keeping us sane while we stay home," 26 Mar. 2020 Depending on how many ballots are outstanding, this could delay knowing the results of the election until all votes are accounted for. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, "Here’s how to vote in Ohio’s vote-by-mail wrap-up to its 2020 primary election: Q&A," 26 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'account.' 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 account


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1c


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for account


Middle English acounte, accompt, borrowed from Anglo-French acunte, acounte, noun derivative of acunter "to account entry 2"


Middle English accounten, acounten, accompten "to count, compute, evaluate, give an account of," borrowed from Anglo-French acunter, acompter, from a-, prefix forming transitive verbs (going back to Latin ad- ad-) + cunter, compter "to count entry 1"

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Time Traveler for account

Time Traveler

The first known use of account was in the 14th century

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Statistics for account

Last Updated

30 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Account.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for account

on account


Financial Definition of on account

What It Is

On account is a term that describes situations in which a customer makes a partial payment for goods or services purchased.

How It Works

In the business world, buying things on account is the same as creating accounts payable. For example, let's assume that Company XYZ orders $1 million in widget parts from its supplier.

Company XYZ pays the supplier $100,000 and puts the other $900,000 on account. This basically means it will pay the rest later -- let's say in 60 days.

Why It Matters

Buying things on account is similar to saying, "put it on my tab." Eventually, however, you have to pay the tab. In our example, the transaction requires careful accounting. Once Company XYZ places its order and/or receives the parts, it will increase its inventory account by $1 million, decrease its cash by $100,000, and increase its accounts payable by $900,000. When 60 days has passed and Company XYZ pays the invoice, it will reduce cash by $900,000 and reduce its accounts payable by $900,000.

Technically, any kind of installment loan (such as your mortgage or car loan) is akin to putting something on account. In the business world, putting things on account usually creates accounts payable (or A/P). A/P is a liability, and as such, it appears on the balance sheet.

In turn, when accounts payable go down, this is considered a use of cash on the company's cash flow statement, and as such, it reduces the company's working capital (defined as current assets minus current liabilities). When accounts payable goes up, this is considered a source of cash on the company's cash flow statement because the company is "stretching out" the time it takes to pay its invoices and thus not using cash as quickly.

Source: Investing Answers


How to pronounce account (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of account

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a record of money that has been paid and money that has been received
: records of income and expenses
: an arrangement in which a bank keeps a record of the money that a person puts in and takes out of the bank



English Language Learners Definition of account (Entry 2 of 2)

formal : to think of (someone or something) in a specified way


ac·​count | \ ə-ˈkau̇nt \

Kids Definition of account

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a record of money received and money paid out
2 : an arrangement with a bank to hold money and keep records of transactions
3 : an arrangement for regular dealings with a business
4 : an arrangement in which a person uses the Internet or e-mail services of a particular company
5 : a statement of explanation or of reasons or causes You'll be asked to give an account of your actions.
6 : a statement of facts or events : report Give me an account of the game.
7 : worth entry 2 sense 1, importance It's of no account to them what I think.
on account of
: because of We cancelled on account of the rain.
on someone's account
: because of someone Don't stay on my account.


accounted; accounting

Kids Definition of account (Entry 2 of 2)

: to think of as He accounted himself lucky.
account for
1 : to take into consideration She didn't account for extra costs.
2 : to give an explanation How do you account for your success?
3 : to be the cause of The flu accounts for many absences.
4 : to make up or form Women account for half the employees.

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Legal Definition of account

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a record of debit and credit entries to cover transactions involving a particular item (as cash or notes receivable) or a particular person or concern
b : a statement of transactions during a fiscal period showing the resulting balance sometimes used in the pl. trustees filed annual accounts as required by statute— W. M. McGovern, Jr. et al.
2 : a periodically rendered reckoning (as one listing charged purchases and credits)
3 : a sum of money or its equivalent deposited in the common cash of a bank and subject to withdrawal at the option of the depositor
4 : a right under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code to payment for goods or services which is not contained in an instrument or chattel paper and that may or may not have been earned by performance

Legal Definition of account (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give a financial account a duty to account

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More from Merriam-Webster on account

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for account

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with account

Spanish Central: Translation of account

Nglish: Translation of account for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of account for Arabic Speakers

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