ac·​count | \ə-ˈkau̇nt \

Definition of account 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a record of debit (see debit entry 2 sense 1a) and credit (see credit entry 1 sense 2d) entries to cover transactions involving a particular item or a particular person or concern

b : a statement of transactions during a fiscal period and the resulting balance

c archaic : reckoning, computation

2a : a statement explaining one's conduct She was asked to give an account of her actions.

b : a statement or exposition of reasons, causes, or motives no satisfactory account of these phenomena

c : a reason for an action : basis On that account I must refuse.

3a(1) : a formal business arrangement providing for regular dealings or services (such as banking, advertising, or store credit) and involving the establishment and maintenance of an account a checking account also : client, customer They are one of our most important accounts.

(2) : money deposited in a bank account and subject to withdrawal by the depositor

b : an arrangement in which a person uses the Internet or e-mail services of a particular company

4a : value, importance It's of no account to me.

b : esteem stood high in their account

5 : advantage turned her wit to good account

6a : careful thought : consideration have to take many things into account

b : a usually mental record : track Keep account of all you do.

7 : a description of facts, conditions, or events : report, narrative the newspaper account of the fire By all accounts they're well-off. also : performance a straightforward account of the sonata

give a good account of oneself

: to perform well especially in a competition or confrontation : to acquit oneself well Though he has an aristocratic bearing, he could probably give a good account of himself in a street fight.— Ishmael Reed

on account

: with the price charged to one's account purchasing on acccount

on account of

: for the sake of : because of The game was cancelled on account of rain.

on no account

: under no circumstances On no account should the children be left alone at home.

on one's own account

1 : on one's own behalf I'm doing it on my own account, not for anyone else.

2 : at one's own risk

3 : by oneself : on one's own


accounted; accounting; accounts

Definition of account (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to furnish a justifying analysis or explanation used with for couldn't account for the loss

2a : to be the sole or primary factor used with for The left fielder accounted for all three putouts.

b : to bring about the capture, death, or destruction of something used with for Enemy fighters accounted for two of the bombers.

transitive verb

1 : to think of as : consider accounts himself lucky

2 : to probe into : analyze

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Examples of account in a Sentence


the difference between the debit and credit sides of an account We always keep very good accounts. We opened new accounts at a bank last week. I took out my money and closed my account. You can withdraw up to $1,000 a day from your account. Every week, she puts a part of her paycheck into a separate account. setting up a bank account


account themselves lucky to be alive
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The engine takes into account things like passengers' previous purchases, preferences, destinations, and activities. Alyson Behr, Ars Technica, "More than an auto-pilot, AI charts its course in aviation," 5 Dec. 2018 It was purchased from the @Wrestling4Sale Instagram, an account that deals vintage wrestling clothing. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Bad Bunny Is the Goofy Fashion Heartthrob We Need Now," 28 Nov. 2018 In just five years Manafort had spent $520,000 at Bijan, splurging on such items as a $48,000 blue lizard jacket and a $12,000 pink pinstripe suit, paid for with money wired from overseas accounts. Maer Roshan, Town & Country, "In Beverly Hills and Beyond, Bijan Carries on a Tradition of Excess and Exclusivity," 22 Oct. 2018 Using deep learning algorithms that can map one person's face onto another's—creating what's known as a 'deepfake'—the YouTube account derpfakes was able to insert Ford's into a few moments into Solo. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Here's Harrison Ford Starring in 'Solo' Thanks to Deepfakes," 17 Oct. 2018 The new friends also busted a move, which led the Today show Twitter account to joke that the two should be Clarkson's backup dancers. Temi Adebowale, Country Living, "Kelly Clarkson and Savannah Guthrie's Daughters Are BFFs and 'Cannot be Separated'," 12 Oct. 2018 The two have set up a funding account for people who want to sponsor or donate money toward someone's retreat fees, focusing mainly on women with metastatic or stage four breast cancer. Alexis Jones, Woman's Day, "This Couple Is Giving Breast Cancer Survivors a Place to Call Paradise," 28 Sep. 2018 There was also their Press Secretary Jason Knauf, and three other press officers who ensure smooth communications with the hundreds of home and foreign press on the ground, and also handle the social media accounts. Marcia Moody, Town & Country, "Here's What It Really Takes to Plan a Royal Tour," 15 Oct. 2018 But that alone doesn’t account for its staying power. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "Not So Fast," 24 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And violence by intimate partners accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime. Anna North, Vox, "At Chicago’s Mercy Hospital, domestic violence became multiple homicide. It’s part of a disturbing pattern.," 21 Nov. 2018 The model was so vast that design of the panels had to account for the curvature of the earth. Nate Berg, Curbed, "Can engineering save Louisiana’s coastline?," 7 Nov. 2018 Although 100 percent of precincts have reported results, election officials will have to account for absentee and provisional ballots in a process that could last awhile. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Josh Harder is in a dead heat in his congressional race to become the only venture capitalist in the House of Representatives," 7 Nov. 2018 Think: Kidney stones account for around 300,000 emergency room visits each year, and patients usually just wait for the stones to pass, which can be a long and painful process. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Here are your 2018 Ig Nobel Prize winners," 13 Sep. 2018 Get our daily newsletter In many Latin American countries the traditional media have done a reasonable job of holding governments to account. The Economist, "Latin America’s new media are growing up," 14 July 2018 Trump, who was the primary beneficiary of Russian efforts to undermine Clinton’s presidential bid, has also shown no interest in holding the Kremlin to account. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Truth Without Consequences," 13 July 2018 Uber provided such detailed data that researchers were able to fully account for the causes behind the ride-hailing service's gender pay gap, said John List, an economist at the University of Chicago and one of the paper's co-authors. Author: Miranda Moore, Anchorage Daily News, "One reason for Uber’s gender pay gap: Men drive faster," 10 July 2018 That translates to 22 percent of US e-waste being accounted for and treated. Peter Ford, The Christian Science Monitor, "'E-waste': Getting grip on a growing global problem," 9 July 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1c


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for account


Middle English acounte, accompt, borrowed from Anglo-French acunte, acounte, noun derivative of acunter "to account entry 2"


Middle English accounten, acounten, accompten "to count, compute, evaluate, give an account of," borrowed from Anglo-French acunter, acompter, from a-, prefix forming transitive verbs (going back to Latin ad- ad-) + cunter, compter "to count entry 1"

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Learn More about account

Statistics for account

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for account

The first known use of account was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for account

on account


Financial Definition of on account

What It Is

On account is a term that describes situations in which a customer makes a partial payment for goods or services purchased.

How It Works

In the business world, buying things on account is the same as creating accounts payable. For example, let's assume that Company XYZ orders $1 million in widget parts from its supplier.

Company XYZ pays the supplier $100,000 and puts the other $900,000 on account. This basically means it will pay the rest later -- let's say in 60 days.

Why It Matters

Buying things on account is similar to saying, "put it on my tab." Eventually, however, you have to pay the tab. In our example, the transaction requires careful accounting. Once Company XYZ places its order and/or receives the parts, it will increase its inventory account by $1 million, decrease its cash by $100,000, and increase its accounts payable by $900,000. When 60 days has passed and Company XYZ pays the invoice, it will reduce cash by $900,000 and reduce its accounts payable by $900,000.

Technically, any kind of installment loan (such as your mortgage or car loan) is akin to putting something on account. In the business world, putting things on account usually creates accounts payable (or A/P). A/P is a liability, and as such, it appears on the balance sheet.

In turn, when accounts payable go down, this is considered a use of cash on the company's cash flow statement, and as such, it reduces the company's working capital (defined as current assets minus current liabilities). When accounts payable goes up, this is considered a source of cash on the company's cash flow statement because the company is "stretching out" the time it takes to pay its invoices and thus not using cash as quickly.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of account

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a record of money that has been paid and money that has been received

accounts : records of income and expenses

: an arrangement in which a bank keeps a record of the money that a person puts in and takes out of the bank



English Language Learners Definition of account (Entry 2 of 2)

: to think of (someone or something) in a specified way


ac·​count | \ə-ˈkau̇nt\

Kids Definition of account

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a record of money received and money paid out

2 : an arrangement with a bank to hold money and keep records of transactions

3 : an arrangement for regular dealings with a business

4 : an arrangement in which a person uses the Internet or e-mail services of a particular company

5 : a statement of explanation or of reasons or causes You'll be asked to give an account of your actions.

6 : a statement of facts or events : report Give me an account of the game.

7 : worth entry 2 sense 1, importance It's of no account to them what I think.

on account of

: because of We cancelled on account of the rain.

on someone's account

: because of someone Don't stay on my account.


accounted; accounting

Kids Definition of account (Entry 2 of 2)

: to think of as He accounted himself lucky.

account for

1 : to take into consideration She didn't account for extra costs.

2 : to give an explanation How do you account for your success?

3 : to be the cause of The flu accounts for many absences.

4 : to make up or form Women account for half the employees.

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Legal Definition of account 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a record of debit and credit entries to cover transactions involving a particular item (as cash or notes receivable) or a particular person or concern

b : a statement of transactions during a fiscal period showing the resulting balance sometimes used in the pl. trustees filed annual accounts as required by statute— W. M. McGovern, Jr. et al.

2 : a periodically rendered reckoning (as one listing charged purchases and credits)

3 : a sum of money or its equivalent deposited in the common cash of a bank and subject to withdrawal at the option of the depositor

4 : a right under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code to payment for goods or services which is not contained in an instrument or chattel paper and that may or may not have been earned by performance

Legal Definition of account (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give a financial account a duty to account

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More from Merriam-Webster on account

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with account

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for account

Spanish Central: Translation of account

Nglish: Translation of account for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of account for Arabic Speakers

Comments on account

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


living or existing for a long time

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