ac·​count·​able ə-ˈkau̇n-tə-bəl How to pronounce accountable (audio)
: subject to giving an account : answerable
held her accountable for the damage
: capable of being explained : explainable
… leaving aside variations accountable as printer's errors …Peter Shaw
accountableness noun
accountably adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for accountable

responsible, answerable, accountable, amenable, liable mean subject to being held to account.

responsible implies holding a specific office, duty, or trust.

the bureau responsible for revenue collection

answerable suggests a relation between one having a moral or legal obligation and a court or other authority charged with oversight of its observance.

an intelligence agency answerable to Congress

accountable suggests imminence of retribution for unfulfilled trust or violated obligation.

elected officials are accountable to the voters

amenable and liable stress the fact of subjection to review, censure, or control by a designated authority under certain conditions.

laws are amenable to judicial review
not liable for the debts of the former spouse

Examples of accountable in a Sentence

If anything goes wrong I will hold you personally accountable! the owner was held accountable for his dog's biting of the child
Recent Examples on the Web Landlords have a responsibility to hold tenants accountable to the rules. Annie Midori Atherton, Washington Post, 6 Feb. 2024 Governments everywhere did many absurd and unaccountable things during the Covid pandemic, but one, at least, is now being held accountable by the courts. Matthew Lau, National Review, 2 Feb. 2024 Biden has spoken out against retaliatory attacks by Israeli settlers and pledged that those responsible for the violence will be held accountable. Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports,, 2 Feb. 2024 And without accountable governance, genuine long-term stability will remain elusive. Dalia Dassa Kaye, Foreign Affairs, 1 Feb. 2024 The school board is accountable for the district’s annual general fund budget of about $10 billion, and is responsible for hiring and evaluating the superintendent. Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times, 1 Feb. 2024 Adobe, the photo software maker, wants to hold bad actors who create these kinds of images accountable. Rachyl Jones, Fortune, 31 Jan. 2024 In that same vein, professional organizers have to hold people accountable, Byrd said. Ashiah Scharaga, Sacramento Bee, 31 Jan. 2024 So looking at our curriculum and seeing how medical students are taught, but also holding hospitals and health care institutions accountable. ABC News, 25 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'accountable.' 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 accountable, accomptable, borrowed from Anglo-French acomptable, from acunter "to account entry 2" + -able -able

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near accountable

Cite this Entry

“Accountable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


ac·​count·​able ə-ˈkau̇nt-ə-bəl How to pronounce accountable (audio)
: responsible for giving an account (as of one's acts)
will be held accountable
: capable of being accounted for : explainable
accountably adverb

Legal Definition


ac·​count·​able ə-ˈkau̇n-tə-bəl How to pronounce accountable (audio)
: liable
accountable for the burglary
: obliged to accept responsibility
the bank accountable for payment of the check
accountability noun

More from Merriam-Webster on accountable

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