ac·​count·​abil·​i·​ty | \ ə-ˌkau̇n-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce accountability (audio) \

Definition of accountability

: the quality or state of being accountable especially : an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions public officials lacking accountability

Examples of accountability in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As long as the president’s party is willing to stand behind him, there will be no accountability for any wrongdoing. Alana Abramson, Time, "Donald Trump Has Been Acquitted. But Our Government Has Never Seemed More Broken.," 5 Feb. 2020 Across the country, there is less accountability for veterinarians than there is for practitioners who treat people. Mike Baker, New York Times, "Pets Are Just ‘Property,’ So Owners Can’t Do Much When Vets Harm Them," 4 Feb. 2020 Paradoxically, counting only votes from members with a stake in the image of the industry put forth by the industry would cast onto the Oscars the sharp light of accountability, would be, in effect, a truth-in-awards program. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "How to Make the Oscars Relevant Again," 15 Jan. 2020 The Vendrix platform gives business owners a higher level of accountability while affording employees the convenience of purchasing with a credit card. William Thornton |, al, "7 new companies chosen for Innovation Depot’s Velocity Accelerator," 8 Jan. 2020 But there has been no official accountability for the 1 million-plus gallon oil spill that occurred in 2005. Joan Meiners, ProPublica, "How Oil Companies Avoided Environmental Accountability After 10.8 Million Gallons Spilled," 28 Dec. 2019 What’s missing at big corporations, ultimately, is accountability. Cassie Werber, Quartz at Work, "Danone is showing multinationals the way to a less destructive form of capitalism," 9 Dec. 2019 The implication is there was little accountability by the end of the Joe Maddon era. Paul Sullivan,, "Column: Theo Epstein says the Cubs have no ‘untouchables.’ But Anthony Rizzo’s bromance with David Ross makes him the closest thing.," 3 Nov. 2019 Several supervisors have held up the scandal as evidence of the dire need for greater transparency and accountability from city government. Dominic Fracassa,, "SF corruption probe: How long will Nuru hang onto his job, and will he keep his pension?," 30 Jan. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of accountability

1750, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for accountability

accountable + -ity

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about accountability

Time Traveler for accountability

Time Traveler

The first known use of accountability was in 1750

See more words from the same year

Statistics for accountability

Last Updated

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Accountability.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on accountability

What made you want to look up accountability? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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