ac·​count·​able | \ ə-ˈkau̇n-tə-bəl How to pronounce accountable (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from accountable

accountableness \ -​ˈkau̇n-​tə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce accountableness (audio) \ noun
accountably \ -​blē How to pronounce accountably (audio) \ 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

Buttigieg’s response to the incident has been attacked by the African American community, which accuses him of not holding the police accountable, and the police, who accuse him of rushing to judgment., "Democratic debate: Joe Biden pushed on the defensive by Kamala Harris and others," 27 June 2019 The portability and pliability of data meets the speed of the internet, massively expanding the possibilities of any one research project, and scaling the risk far beyond what any one university can be held accountable for. Sidney Fussell, The Atlantic, "When Research Data Escapes the University," 27 June 2019 O’Malley acknowledged some corrections officers have been charged with prisoner abuse, but asked who in leadership has been held accountable for the culture at the jails. Courtney Astolfi,, "Cuyahoga County prosecutor, public defender and judges support charter amendment legislation to return sheriff to elected position," 25 June 2019 The legislature needs to be held accountable for this failure. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Op-ed from a hunter: Wisconsin is failing badly at CWD management," 15 June 2019 How much will the American hold UConn accountable for this decision? Fletcher Page,, "What's next for UConn's AAC exit? A look back at what Louisville and Rutgers had to do," 5 June 2019 Probably they won’t be held accountable, just the way a drill, or ... Eric Johnson, Recode, "Lauren Goode returns for the final episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask," 3 Aug. 2018 Women are still getting raped at work and… companies are not being held accountable for that. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "The CEO of Pro Mujer on how women are key to Latin America’s success," 16 June 2019 The world is composed of nations that, at the end of the day, are accountable only to themselves and to their people. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "Trump’s Great D-Day Speech," 6 June 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about accountable

Statistics for accountable

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for accountable

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce accountable (audio) \

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 How to pronounce accountability (audio) \ noun

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a small bunch of flowers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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!