ac·​count·​able | \ə-ˈkau̇n-tə-bəl \

Definition of accountable 

1 : subject to giving an account : answerable held her accountable for the damage

2 : capable of being explained : explainable … leaving aside variations accountable as printer's errors …— Peter Shaw

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Other Words from accountable

accountableness \ -​ˈkau̇n-​tə-​bəl-​nəs \ noun
accountably \ -​blē \ 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

Yet a group of people do not have the courage to hold anyone accountable for his death. Melissa Korn, WSJ, "University System of Maryland Board Chairman Resigns," 1 Nov. 2018 In another video segment, the siblings urged voters to hold the congressman accountable on health care, employment and environmental issues. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar blames Obama for siblings' attack ad," 25 Sep. 2018 Siefert reiterated Tuesday that the state intends to hold the vendor, Conduent, accountable for the delays., "SunPass starts getting back up to speed," 3 July 2018 Avoiding responsibility for the Tubbs Fire could significantly affect the amount of money PG&E stands to lose in lawsuits seeking to hold the company accountable for fire damage. David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle, "PG&E, blamed for 12 Northern California fires, faces financial and political peril," 8 June 2018 DeWine argues that calling for a work requirement and incentives for people to be healthy means that the system would be more accountable and sustainable. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: GOP candidates caught in a bind on Medicaid," 13 July 2018 In other words, Ms. Tessel says, be authentic and accountable. Joann S. Lublin, WSJ, "Intuit’s Marianna Tessel on Her Trusted Advisers," 11 July 2018 This is why an outside agency needs to step in and hold Pastor accountable. Jason Williams,, "PX column: Time's up for Jeff Pastor's campaign finance report. Is an investigation coming?," 11 July 2018 On the flip side, a lot of the worst trolls and adversarial behaviors happen because people are not accountable because their names aren’t attached. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Fog Creek Software CEO Anil Dash answers all the questions on Too Embarrassed to Ask," 8 July 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for accountable

Middle English accountable, accomptable, borrowed from Anglo-French acomptable, from acunter "to account entry 2" + -able -able

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Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for accountable

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

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More Definitions for accountable



English Language Learners Definition of accountable

: required to explain actions or decisions to someone

: required to be responsible for something


ac·​count·​able | \ə-ˈkȧun-tə-bəl\

Kids Definition of accountable

1 : required to explain actions or decisions The mayor is accountable to the city's residents.

2 : responsible sense 1 You're accountable for your mistakes.


ac·​count·​able | \ə-ˈkau̇n-tə-bəl \

Legal Definition of accountable 

1 : liable accountable for the burglary

2 : obliged to accept responsibility the bank accountable for payment of the check

Other Words from accountable

accountability \ ə-​ˌkau̇n-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun

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Comments on accountable

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


obstinately defiant of authority

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