I. noun 1. a report or description of an event or experience • a detailed account of what has been achieved.
2. a record or statement of financial expenditure and receipts relating to a particular period or purpose • the barman was doing his accounts.
(chiefly Brit.) a bill for goods or services provided over a period
• there’s no money to pay the tradesmen’s accounts this month.
4. an arrangement by which a body holds funds on behalf of a client or supplies goods or services to them on credit • a bank account
• I began buying things on account.
5. a client having an account with a supplier • selling bibles to established accounts in the North.
6. a contract to do work for a client • another agency was awarded the account.
(Brit.) a fixed period on a stock exchange, at the end of which payment must be made for stock that has been bought.
8. an arrangement by which a user is given personalized access to a computer, website, or application, typically by entering a username and password • we’ve reset your password to prevent others from accessing your account.
9. [ mass noun] — importance • money was of no account to her.
10. an interpretation or rendering of a piece of music • a lively account of Offenbach’s score.
II. verb 1. [with obj. and complement] — consider or regard in a specified way • her visit could not be accounted a success
• he accounted himself the unluckiest man alive.
2. [no obj.] —
‹archaic› give or receive an account for money received
• after 1292 he accounted to the Westminster exchequer.
III. phrases 1. by (or from) all accounts according to what one has heard or read • by all accounts he is a pretty nice guy.
2. call (or bring) someone to account require someone to explain a mistake or poor performance. • the government is being called to account for the economic disaster.
3. give a good (or bad) account of oneself make a favourable (or unfavourable) impression through one’s performance. • he gave a good account of himself in matches against Crewe and Chesterfield.
4. keep an account of keep a record of. • I kept a weekly account of my workload and activities.
5. leave something out of account fail or decline to consider a factor. • our obsession with growth leaves issues such as sustainability out of account.
6. money of account denominations of money used in reckoning but not current as coins. 7. on someone’s account for a specified person’s benefit • don’t bother on my account.
8. on account of because of • they had closed early on account of the snow.
9. on no account under no circumstances • on no account let anyone know we’re interested.
10. on one’s own account a. for one’s own purposes; for oneself • he began trading on his own account.
b. alone; unaided • he’ll be investigating on his own account.
11. settle (or square) accounts with have revenge on. • an embittered Charlotte is determined to settle accounts with Elizabeth.
12. take something into account (or take account of) consider something along with other factors before reaching a decision. • teachers should take a child’s age into account.
13. there’s no accounting for tastes (or taste)
‹proverb› it’s impossible to explain why different people like different things, especially those things which the speaker considers unappealing.
14. turn something to (good) account turn something to one’s advantage. • he turned his literary accomplishments to account in his pictures.
IV. phrasal verbs account for a. give a satisfactory record of (something, typically money, that one is responsible for). • I had to account for every penny I spent.
b. provide or serve as a satisfactory explanation for • he was brought before the Board to account for his behaviour.
c. know the fate or whereabouts of (someone or something), especially after an accident • everyone was accounted for after the floods.
d. succeed in killing, destroying, or defeating • a mishit drive accounted for Jones, who had scored 32.
e. supply or make up (a specified amount or proportion) • social security accounts for about a third of total public spending.
– origin Middle English (in the sense ‘counting’, ‘to count’): from Old French acont (noun), aconter (verb), based on conter ‘to count’.