ac·​crue | \ə-ˈkrü \
accrued; accruing

Definition of accrue 

intransitive verb

1 : to come into existence as a legally enforceable claim

2a : to come about as a natural growth, increase, or advantage the wisdom that accrues with age

b : to come as a direct result of some state or action rewards due to the feminine will accrue to me— Germaine Greer

3 : to accumulate or be added periodically interest accrues on a daily basis

transitive verb

: to accumulate or have due after a period of time accrue vacation time

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Other Words from accrue

accruable \-​ˈkrü-​ə-​bəl \ adjective
accruement \-​ˈkrü-​mənt \ noun

Examples of accrue in a Sentence

I'll get back all the money I invested, plus any interest and dividends that have accrued. investments that have accrued interest and dividends

Recent Examples on the Web

The diverse portfolio accrued by the group has included vineyards in California, dairy farms in New Zealand and operations producing cotton, soybeans and sugar cane in countries including Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Russia and Ukraine. Caleb Parke, Fox News, "Harvard's billion-dollar global farmland investments under fire from activists," 12 Sep. 2018 The benefits accrued to American companies and consumers (though some of the workers who voted for Mr Trump lost out). The Economist, "Donald Trump insists on trade reciprocity. But what kind?," 12 July 2018 According to the terms of the extension, Keller can accrue up to 25 vacation days a year, 12 sick days a year and up to four personal days a year. Phil Rockrohr,, "Lake Zurich village manager receives extension, including 12-percent salary increase," 3 July 2018 Currently, state employees can accrue up to 120 hours of sick time a year, or 15 days, and cash out 20 percent of that unused time upon retirement., "Should Massachusetts cap sick time for state workers?," 29 June 2018 Unpaid taxes accrue interest and penalties if not paid by Dec. 31. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Harford County recoups more than $828,000 in annual tax lien sale," 19 June 2018 The New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew continued to stockpile points while proving doubters wrong, while eye-opening equalizers and points accrued by shorthanded teams were scattered across the six-game Saturday slate. Avi Creditor,, "The MLS XI, Week 4: Another Red Bulls Stampede, LA Braces for Zlatan," 26 Mar. 2018 Subject to some restrictions and exceptions, prior law stated that interest paid or accrued by a business generally is fully deductible. Tom Cooney And Crystal Faulkner,, "Additional tax breaks and updates for businesses under tax reform," 18 Jan. 2018 Specific government policies have driven the racial gap by making it specifically harder for minorities to accrue wealth. Sarah Kliff, Vox, "An exclusive look at Cory Booker’s plan to fight wealth inequality: give poor kids money," 22 Oct. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for accrue

Middle English acrewen, acruwen, probably borrowed from Anglo-French *acreue "increase," noun derivative from feminine of acreu, past participle of acreistre "to increase, grow," going back to Latin accrēscere, from ad- ad- + crēscere "to grow" — more at crescent entry 1

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Statistics for accrue

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for accrue

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

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More Definitions for accrue



Financial Definition of accrue

What It Is

To accrue is to record revenue and expenses in the periods in which they are incurred. Accruals, the result of accruing, are key components of the accrual method of accounting.

How It Works

Company XYZ must insure one of its buildings. The insurance company bills Company XYZ $600 every six months (one bill in January, the next in July). If each bill is for six months' coverage, then under the accrual method, Company XYZ would not record a $600 expense in January and a $600 expense in July (doing so would mean Company XYZ was using the cash method); it would instead record a $100 expense each month for the whole year. That is, Company would match the expense to the periods in which it is incurred: $100 for January, $100 for February, $100 for March, and so on.

As you can see, accruing recognizes economic events in certain periods regardless of when actual cash transactions occur.

Why It Matters

Although it is more complex, harder to implement and harder to maintain than the cash method of accounting, most analysts agree that accruing provides a more accurate picture of a company's performance. That's because in any given accounting period, revenues are associated with their corresponding expenses, which gives a truer picture of the real costs of producing the revenue in a given period.

Additionally, accruing allows companies to reflect the fact that sales may have been made and expenses incurred even if cash has not changed hands yet (as is often the case with sales made on credit and similar circumstances). This in turn produces financial statements that are comparable over time.

However, one of the big drawbacks of accruing is that it tends to obscure the nature of the company's actual cash position (e.g., a company may show millions in sales but only have $10 in its cash account because its customers haven't paid yet).

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of accrue

: to increase in value or amount gradually as time passes : to grow or build up slowly

: to come to or be given to someone


ac·​crue | \ə-ˈkrü \
accrued; accruing

Legal Definition of accrue 

intransitive verb

1 : to come into existence as an enforceable claim : vest as a right action…does not accrue until the plaintiff knew or reasonably should have known that he may have suffered injuryNational Law Journal

Note: Statutes of limitations begin to run when a cause of action accrues.

2 : to come by way of increase or addition : arise as a growth or result usually used with to or from advantages accruing to society from the freedom of the press interest accrues to the seller as a result of the delay

3 : to be periodically accumulated in the process of time whether as an increase or a decrease the accruing of taxes allowing the receivable interest to accrue

transitive verb

1 : to accumulate or have due after a period of time authorized by law to accrue leave in the maximum amount of 90 days

2 : to enter in the books as an accrual

History and Etymology for accrue

Middle French accreue increase, addition to a property, from feminine of accreu, past participle of acreistre to increase

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More from Merriam-Webster on accrue

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with accrue

Spanish Central: Translation of accrue

Nglish: Translation of accrue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of accrue for Arabic Speakers

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a nest or breeding place

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