ac·​count | \ ə-ˈkau̇nt How to pronounce account (audio) \

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 account
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 network, which will launch in 2020, will allow people to exchange money with individuals and businesses, for goods and services, and as a way of securing their money, similar to a checking account. Larry Magid, The Mercury News, "Magid: Facebook’s bitcoin rival has potential but begs for scrutiny," 20 June 2019 These fees were not and are still not disclosed anywhere on the website without an account. Christopher Elliott,, "Problem Solved: What’s with the transaction fees on this movie ticket service?," 20 June 2019 Fraud During a credit check for a loan, a Friendswood man discovered two delinquent accounts on his credit report, police said. Jennifer James, Houston Chronicle, "Riding mowers reported stolen from Friendswood barn," 20 June 2019 Saudi Arabia initially offered multiple shifting accounts about his disappearance, but as pressure mounted the kingdom eventually settled on the explanation that he was killed by rogue officials in a brawl inside their Istanbul consulate. Author: Jamey Keaten, Aya Batrawy, Anchorage Daily News, "U.N. inquiry into Khashoggi killing calls for greater scrutiny of Saudi prince and other officials," 19 June 2019 Annie was, according to every account, a vast woman. Mike Scott,, "‘Voodoo City,’ Episode 9: Meet Annie Christmas, New Orleans’ answer to Paul Bunyan," 19 June 2019 A few days ago, the actress' Twitter account was hacked and the hacker threatened to release Bella's nudes on the social media site. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Bella Thorne Calls Out Whoopi Goldberg in an Emotional Video After "The View" Host Shames Her for Posting Nude Pics," 19 June 2019 At this point, the officer's account is the only one to emerge. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "How Pete Buttigieg's campaign faces a test after the fatal police shooting of a black man," 19 June 2019 Owners also need to be sure information needed to run the company — such as account information and passwords, ledgers, customer records and details on projects, products and services — is available and easy for outsiders to understand. Washington Post, "Some succession planning basics business owners need to know," 19 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Because underestimating or overestimating future rainfall may raise project costs, the district relies on historical models, which do not account for the changing climate. Kate Stein, Scientific American, "Climate Change Throws a Wrench in Everglades Restoration," 21 June 2019 Salaries accounted for about 8% of its expenditures, according to its 2017 filing, the latest year that is publicly available. Mary Jo Pitzl, Arizona Republic, "Charity says it helps foster kids. Records show most of the money goes to salaries, overhead," 20 June 2019 The net gain from House Bill 3, the school finance bill, accounted for almost $33 million of the increase. Alia Malik,, "SAISD staff to receive raises," 18 June 2019 Teenagers, meanwhile, accounted for 8% of total procedures. Sangeeta Singh-kurtz, Quartzy, "Plastic surgery clients are getting younger—and doctors say selfies are to blame," 18 June 2019 Unintentional injuries also accounted for a significant portion of deaths of younger children. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska ranks 45th in the nation for children’s well-being, report says," 18 June 2019 Sales taxes, which account for nearly one-third of the city’s general fund revenues, are projected to bring $13.5 million for the 2019-20 year, about $105,000 more than this year. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Santee future finances concern City Council during budget talk," 18 June 2019 The budget accounted for all known, and some predictable unknown expenses, based on several courses of action that ranged from full golf course operations to just maintaining the green space. Helen Williams,, "Timberlane commission stays busy to protect future of country club," 14 June 2019 This year, rookies accounted for three of the Globes' five drama nominees, Netflix's Bodyguard, Amazon's Homecoming and FX's Pose, and two of its five comedy nominees, Netflix's The Kominsky Method (which won) and Showtime's Kidding. Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys: Which New Shows Have a Shot at Landing Nominations?," 14 June 2019

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 "toaccount 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

23 Jun 2019

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
: 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)

formal : 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

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