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

There are some differences between the ballot question and the bill, The Mercury News explained today: The bill differs from the initiative in the way that companies would be held accountable for breaches to address an industry concern. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "California approves privacy rules opposed by ISPs and tech companies," 28 June 2018 And everyone who might ultimately be held accountable, with the exception of Donham, is also dead. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "raceAhead: Fresh Justice for Emmett Till?," 12 July 2018 But as the judges explained their verdict, protesters outside demanded that more people be held accountable. New York Times, "Neo-Nazi Terrorist Jailed for Life in Case That Shamed Germany’s Spies," 11 July 2018 Individuals also can be held accountable under the nonacademic misconduct code. Karen Herzog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "UW suspends Kappa Sigma after woman nearly hit by falling television at party," 5 July 2018 Armed with the gadget, Sam sets out to expose their lies and hold those responsible accountable for their actions. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "12 fantastic science fiction and fantasy novels that you should check out this July," 1 July 2018 And feminists and fat positivity activists have been talking about the issue for just as long, holding mass media and celebrities accountable for their messaging and potential impact. Carolyn Kylstra, SELF, "How Should a Health Brand Talk About Weight?," 25 June 2018 Americans don’t want people to commit a crime and to not have to be held accountable. Haley Barbour, Time, "Why the U.S. Should Prosecute Illegal Immigration as it Does Other Laws," 21 June 2018 The council was designed to be smaller, more orderly and more accountable. The Economist, "America’s spat with the UN Human Rights Council," 21 June 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

21 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for accountable

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

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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).


the setting in which something occurs

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