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

    “he gave an inaccurate
    account of the plot to kill the president”
    chronicle, history, story
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    Parallel Lives

    a collection of biographies of famous pairs of Greeks and Romans written by Plutarch; used by Shakespeare in writing some of his plays

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    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    historical document, historical paper, historical record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

    account of his speech that was given on the evening news made the governor furious”
    news report, report, story, write up
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    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”
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    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
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    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
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    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

    describe, report
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    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”
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    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”
    answer for
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    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
    business relationship
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    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
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    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”
    account statement, accounting
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    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
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    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”
    bill, invoice
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    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
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    financial statement, statement

    a document showing credits and debits

  11. verb

    keep an account of

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    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

    impose and collect

    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
    “the paper was rejected on
    account of its length”
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    type of:

    ground, reason

    a rational motive for a belief or action

  13. noun

    importance or value

    “a person of considerable
    “he predicted that although it is of small
    account now it will rapidly increase in importance”
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    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
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    type of:

    gain, profit

    the advantageous quality of being beneficial

Word Family