Other forms: accounts; accounted; accounting

An account can be many things — such as a story, like if you give a friend an account of what happened at the party she missed. It can also be a business arrangement, like a bank account or an email account.

Account is one of those seemingly simple words that have a mass of different meanings. An account can be a narrative or story — a biography, for example, is an account of someone's life. Account can also mean an explanation of something, as in the phrase, "How do you account for that?" An account is also a handy arrangement whereby a store agrees to provide you goods on credit, but then you might have to account for all that debt.

Definitions of account
  1. noun
    a record or narrative description of past events
    synonyms: chronicle, history, story
    see moresee less
    show 13 types...
    hide 13 types...
    ancient history
    a history of the ancient world
    a history of a word
    case history
    detailed record of the background of a person or group under study or treatment
    historical document, historical paper, historical record
    writing having historical value (as opposed to fiction or myth etc.)
    annals, chronological record
    a chronological account of events in successive years
    biography, life, life history, life story
    an account of the series of events making up a person's life
    a detailed account or description of something
    folk etymology
    a popular but erroneous etymology
    family history
    part of a patient's medical history in which questions are asked in an attempt to find out whether the patient has hereditary tendencies toward particular diseases
    anamnesis, medical history, medical record
    the case history of a medical patient as recalled by the patient
    a biography of yourself
    a biography that idealizes or idolizes the person (especially a person who is a saint)
    biographical sketch
    type of:
    anything (such as a document or a phonograph record or a photograph) providing permanent evidence of or information about past events
  2. noun
    a short account of the news
    “the account of his speech that was given on the evening news made the governor furious”
    synonyms: news report, report, story, write up
    see moresee less
    show 8 types...
    hide 8 types...
    newsletter, newssheet
    report or open letter giving informal or confidential news of interest to a special group
    a brief report (especially an official statement issued for immediate publication or broadcast)
    communique, despatch, dispatch
    an official report (usually sent in haste)
    urban legend
    a story that appears mysteriously and spreads spontaneously in various forms and is usually false; contains elements of humor or horror and is popularly believed to be true
    exclusive, scoop
    a news report that is reported first by one news organization
    market letter
    a newsletter written by an analyst of the stock market and sold to subscribers
    flash, news bulletin, newsbreak, newsflash
    a short news announcement concerning some on-going news story
    information bulletin
    a bulletin containing the latest information
    type of:
    information reported in a newspaper or news magazine
  3. noun
    the act of informing by verbal report
    “by all accounts they were a happy couple”
    synonyms: report
    see moresee less
    show 14 types...
    hide 14 types...
    summarisation, summarization
    the act of preparing a summary (or an instance thereof); stating briefly and succinctly
    indirect discourse
    a report of a discourse in which deictic terms are modified appropriately (e.g., "he said `I am a fool' would be modified to `he said he is a fool'")
    direct discourse, direct quotation
    a report of the exact words used in a discourse (e.g., "he said `I am a fool'")
    (Yiddish) a long boring tediously detailed account
    report of a mission or task
    short account of an incident (especially a biographical one)
    narration, recital, yarn
    the act of giving an account describing incidents or a course of events
    comment, gossip, scuttlebutt
    a report (often malicious) about the behavior of other people
    recounting, relation, telling
    an act of narration
    an outpouring of gossip
    hearsay, rumor, rumour
    gossip (usually a mixture of truth and untruth) passed around by word of mouth
    grapevine, pipeline, word of mouth
    gossip spread by spoken communication
    dirt, malicious gossip, scandal
    disgraceful gossip about the private lives of other people
    talk, talk of the town
    idle gossip or rumor
    type of:
    informing, making known
    a speech act that conveys information
  4. noun
    a statement that makes something comprehensible by describing the relevant structure or operation or circumstances etc.
    “I expected a brief account
    synonyms: explanation
    see moresee less
    show 34 types...
    hide 34 types...
    an explanation that omits superfluous details and reduces complexity
    a convincing explanation that reveals basic causes
    an explanation of the cause of some phenomenon
    a statement in explanation of some action or belief
    an account that sets forth the meaning or intent of a writing or discourse
    a detailed explanation of the meaning of something
    gloss, rubric
    an explanation or definition of an obscure word in a text
    derivation, deriving, etymologizing
    (historical linguistics) an explanation of the historical origins of a word or phrase
    a concise explanation of the meaning of a word or phrase or symbol
    an explanation that results from interpreting something
    a thorough explanation (usually accompanied by a demonstration) of each step in a procedure or process
    oversimplification, simplism
    a simplification that goes too far (to the point of misrepresentation)
    cause, grounds, reason
    a justification for something existing or happening
    defence, defense, vindication
    the justification for some act or belief
    exposition, expounding
    a systematic interpretation or explanation (usually written) of a specific topic
    an interpretation of the meaning of something; the act of construing
    contextual definition
    a definition in which the term is used by embedding it in a larger expression containing its explanation
    dictionary definition
    a definition that reports the standard uses of a word or phrase or symbol
    explicit definition
    a definition that gives an exact equivalent of the term defined
    ostensive definition
    a definition that points out or exhibits instances of the term defined
    recursive definition
    (mathematics) a definition of a function from which values of the function can be calculated in a finite number of steps
    the act of giving a new definition
    stipulative definition
    a definition that is stipulated by someone and that is not a standard usage
    clarification, elucidation, illumination
    an interpretation that removes obstacles to understanding
    personal interpretation of a text (especially of the Bible) using your own ideas
    an explanation or critical interpretation (especially of the Bible)
    the endeavor of a Moslem scholar to derive a rule of divine law from the Koran and Hadith without relying on the views of other scholars; by the end of the 10th century theologians decided that debate on such matters would be closed and Muslim theology and law were frozen
    literal interpretation
    an interpretation based on the exact wording
    an interpretation of a matter from a particular viewpoint
    a particular interpretation or performance
    construction, twist
    an interpretation of a text or action
    an interpretation formed by piecing together bits of evidence
    popularisation, popularization
    an interpretation that easily understandable and acceptable
    misinterpretation, mistaking, misunderstanding
    putting the wrong interpretation on
    type of:
    a message that is stated or declared; a communication (oral or written) setting forth particulars or facts etc
  5. verb
    give an account or representation of in words
    synonyms: describe, report
    see moresee less
    type of:
    impart knowledge of some fact, state or affairs, or event to
  6. verb
    be the sole or primary factor in the existence, acquisition, supply, or disposal of something
    “Passing grades account for half of the grades given in this exam”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
  7. verb
    furnish a justifying analysis or explanation
    “I can't account for the missing money”
    synonyms: answer for
    see moresee less
    type of:
    state emphatically and authoritatively
  8. noun
    a formal contractual relationship established to provide for regular banking or brokerage or business services
    “he asked to see the executive who handled his account
    synonyms: business relationship
    see moresee less
    show 8 types...
    hide 8 types...
    brokerage account
    a fund that a customer has entrusted to a securities brokerage
    bank account
    a fund that a customer has entrusted to a bank and from which the customer can make withdrawals
    short account
    a brokerage account of someone who sells short (sells securities he does not own)
    cash account
    an account with a securities brokerage whose transactions are settled on a cash basis
    margin account
    an account with a securities brokerage in which the broker extends credit
    giro account
    an account at a post office that can be used in similar ways to an account at a bank
    checking account, chequing account, current account
    a bank account against which the depositor can draw checks that are payable on demand
    savings account
    a bank account that accumulates interest
    type of:
    a state involving mutual dealings between people or parties or countries
  9. noun
    a statement of recent transactions and the resulting balance
    “they send me an accounting every month”
    synonyms: account statement, accounting
    see moresee less
    show 5 types...
    hide 5 types...
    capital account
    (finance) an account of the net value of a business at a specified date
    capital account
    (economics) that part of the balance of payments recording a nation's outflow and inflow of financial securities
    profit and loss, profit and loss account
    an account compiled at the end of an accounting period to show gross and net profit or loss
    suspense account
    an account used temporarily to carry doubtful receipts and disbursements or discrepancies pending their analysis and permanent classification
    expense account, travel and entertainment account
    an account to which salespersons or executives can charge travel and entertainment expenses
    type of:
    financial statement, statement
    a document showing credits and debits
  10. noun
    an itemized statement of money owed for goods or services
    “send me an account of what I owe”
    synonyms: bill, invoice
    see moresee less
    show 7 types...
    hide 7 types...
    electric bill
    a bill for money owed for electricity used
    hotel bill
    statement of charges for staying in a hotel
    doctor's bill, medical bill
    statement of charges for medical services
    phone bill, telephone bill
    statement of charges for telephone service
    reckoning, tally
    a bill for an amount due
    tax bill
    money owed for taxes
    check, chit, tab
    the bill in a restaurant
    type of:
    financial statement, statement
    a document showing credits and debits
  11. verb
    keep an account of
    synonyms: calculate
    see moresee less
    show 14 types...
    hide 14 types...
    accounting: enter as credit
    compute credits and debits of an account
    cause to be off balance
    enter as debit
    calculate principal and interest
    bill, charge
    demand payment
    sell or provide on credit
    impose, levy
    charge and collect payment
    exact a tithe from
    charge (a person or a property) with a payment, such as a tax or a fine
    charge (someone) too little money
    charge an extra fee, as for a special service
    send an bill to
    enter a certain amount as a charge
  12. noun
    “don't do it on my account
    “the paper was rejected on account of its length”
    synonyms: score
    see moresee less
    type of:
    ground, reason
    a rational motive for a belief or action
  13. noun
    importance or value
    “a person of considerable account
    “he predicted that although it is of small account now it will rapidly increase in importance”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    the quality of being important and worthy of note
  14. noun
    the quality of taking advantage
    “she turned her writing skills to good account
    see moresee less
    type of:
    gain, profit
    the advantageous quality of being beneficial




Cite this entry
  • MLA
  • APA
  • Chicago

Copy citation
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘account'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Word Family

Look up account for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

VocabTrainer -'s Vocabulary Trainer