Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

account - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb     account pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
present tense
present participleaccounting
past tenseaccounted
past participleaccounted
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

phrasal verb

account for

Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theyaccount for
he/she/itaccounts for
present participleaccounting for
past tenseaccounted for
past participleaccounted for
  1. 1
    account for something to be the reason why something exists or happens

    A number of factors account for the differences between the two scores.

    The increase in carbon dioxide emissions may account for changes in the climate.

  2. 2
    account for something to give an explanation for something bad that has happened, especially something that you are responsible for

    You will be brought before the disciplinary panel to account for your actions.

    How do you account for this sudden improvement in his test scores?

  3. 3
    account for someone/something to form, use, or produce a particular amount or part of a group of people or things

    Electronic goods account for over 30% of our exports.

  4. 4
    [often passive] account for something to say how you have used, or how you will use, an amount of money that you are responsible for spending, especially in your job

    She had to account for every cent she spent.

    Investors were told that over half their savings had vanished and could not be accounted for.

  5. 5
    [usually passive] account for someone if someone is accounted for, you know where they are and so do not worry that they are not where they should be

    One small child was still not accounted for.

  6. 6
    there’s no accounting for taste mainly spoken used for saying that you think what someone likes is strange


the situation of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a rise in the level of a stream or river

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play