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 clip earned the most metrics by any musician’s Facebook Live video in March 2018 in each category, accruing 223,000 reactions, 42,000 comments, 19,000 shares and 2.4 million views in its first seven days, according to Shareablee. Kevin Rutherford, Billboard, "Alicia Keys & Ultra Music Festival Performances Dominate Top Facebook Live Videos Chart," 16 Apr. 2018 These in-school payments reduce or eliminate the interest that accrues during the in-school period, saving the borrower money. Jennifer Markert, USA TODAY, "8 ways to parent independent, financially savvy college kids," 2 Apr. 2018 Officials project a total $500,000 saving for the first year that could accrue in the following two years. Jason Ruiter,, "Lake moves nonprofit ambulance service in-house, vows $500K savings," 14 Feb. 2018 There's no estimate of how much savings could accrue because it's not known yet how many people will accept it, company spokesman Phil Lynch said. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "Brown-Forman wants to shed 150 salaried jobs with early-retirement deal," 5 June 2018 Three-year-olds through high schoolers will track their reading and accrue beads on a necklace. Caitlin Mullen,, "Ready to read: Libraries in Oak Park, River Forest prepare for summer programs aimed at students," 24 May 2018 Over the last year, as Hartford’s fiscal crisis has come to a head, Mayor Luke Bronin moved to limit the amount of unused sick and vacation time that non-union employees may accrue. Jenna Carlesso, Courant Community, "Former Hartford Police Chief Named Security Director For City Schools," 27 Apr. 2018 In 2016, Kavanaugh reported having between $60,000 to $200,000 in debt accrued over three credit cards and a personal loan. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Report: Brett Kavanaugh racked up thousands in debt buying baseball tickets," 12 July 2018 All six officers who participated in the party received letters of reprimand and lost accrued time. Sarah Blaskey, miamiherald, "The lieutenant brought the beer. Then he covered the camera with a red party cup.," 9 July 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

11 Nov 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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playful or foolish behavior

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