Definition of account for in English:

account for

phrasal verb

  • 1Give a satisfactory record of (something, typically money, that one is responsible for)

    ‘I had to account for every penny I spent’
    • ‘However, the ESB must account for all the money it spends.’
    • ‘They claim that all the money is accounted for because company employees always assist the dead person's relatives.’
    • ‘National has no problem in theory with devolving the management of community programmes and assets to the community itself as long as government money is accounted for.’
    • ‘There are a lot of Government departments that collect revenue from the public and it is important that all the money is accounted for.’
    • ‘There were few or no controls over how that money was spent and accounted for.’
    • ‘What differentiates it from these examples and where the most stinging criticism lies concerns accounting for public money.’
    • ‘Education minister Alan Johnson recognised the ‘differences of opinion’ between Mancat and the LSC but stressed the need for money to be accounted for.’
    • ‘I have heard that as much as $8 billion of that money cannot be accounted for by the coalition.’
    • ‘The records were well maintained and all the money was accounted for,’ he said.’
    • ‘You can have this debt relief, but you have to observe human rights and be honest about accounting for the money, and you've got to put it into education, health care or economic development.’
    • ‘Assuring students that all the money would be accounted for, he said he planned to meet with the bursary yesterday to get an idea of the balance in the guild's account.’
    • ‘The GO budget, as it is commonly referred to, accounts for money spent by central administration and its related services.’
    • ‘Fiscal accountability, being very open with students on how we spend our money, accounting for every penny.’
    • ‘He was unable to account for the money they gave him in the 1990s.’
    • ‘There is nothing more satisfying than knowing your entire record can be accounted for by your own hands.’
    • ‘You and I don't really want to know how much money they've actually accounted for, do we?’
    • ‘I'm going to be more disciplined about my spending habits, and instead of wasting money, I'll account for everything that I spend.’
    • ‘The court also indicated that the defendants' fiduciary duty included a responsibility to account for property and money entrusted to them.’
    • ‘The money collected was not accounted for but collection was done on a daily basis.’
    • ‘It did not indicate that he had not accounted for any sums of money.’
    1. 1.1 Provide or serve as a satisfactory explanation for.
      ‘he was brought before the Board to account for his behaviour’
      • ‘Pierre starts life with the belief that there must be some grand system of explanation that will account for life and justify it, and provide the sure interpretation of it.’
      • ‘Of course, classically trained economists have bandied about all manner of explanations to account for the anomaly, none of which include management nor manipulation.’
      • ‘Still, this sort of power-based explanation cannot account for American activism in the 1890s or 1790s.’
      • ‘This is an absence from the historical record that must be accounted for.’
      • ‘There is no one explanation that accounts for every feature of the grail legend.’
      • ‘At least three, potentially related, explanations may account for this finding.’
      • ‘Even if correct, however, this explanation would not account for the health problems of their younger daughter, who has not yet attended high school.’
      • ‘It is not clear how much variance each of these two explanatory factors provides to account for psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents.’
      • ‘But it was not just the fine weather that accounted for the record attendances.’
      • ‘At the end of the day, we are faced with the ‘mystery of evil’, a demonic hatred that runs deeper than merely human explanations can account for.’
      • ‘Yesterday I wrote that I thought this explanation probably accounted for most of the change in sentiment among the Spanish electorate.’
      • ‘Several explanations account for this lack of activism.’
      • ‘Thus a scenario or process explanation which reasonably accounts for what we know at a particular point in time is not a bad thing, so long as we understand its hybrid nature.’
      • ‘This, rather than anything to do with the specific phases of the development of IT, accounts for the recent disappointing record of productivity.’
      • ‘Lastly, there is no one explanation that accounts for Rome's decline and fall.’
      • ‘Simplistic though it may seem, an elementary explanation may help to account for the gradual shift away from Augustinianism.’
      • ‘The explanation cannot even account for the flood legends.’
      • ‘However, even this neat explanation fails to account for the appalling standard of this week's releases where the mediocre (at best) rub shoulders with several of the worst films ever made.’
      • ‘But neither can conventional political explanations account for this policy choice.’
      • ‘Scientists immediately scrambled to find an explanation that could account for a persistent, recurring cycle of planet-wide species die-outs.’
      explain, give an explanation, come up with an explanation, explain away, answer for, give reasons for, rationalize, provide a rationale for, show grounds for, elucidate, illuminate, clear up
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    2. 1.2 Know the fate or whereabouts of (someone or something), especially after an accident.
      ‘everyone was accounted for after the floods’
      • ‘Being unable to account for the whereabouts of even one-fifth that many weapons would be alarming, according to former ATF agents, even for a store the size of Bull's Eye.’
      • ‘It will release or account for all Gulf War personnel whose fate is still unknown.’
      • ‘Their families will be aware that they cannot account for their whereabouts at that time. I'd urge them to come forward.’
      • ‘Why cannot the council account for the whereabouts of the above items or the disappearance of upwards of 20 high quality suits?’
      • ‘Of course, the prosecution could have pointed out that still wouldn't account for the man's whereabouts in the first three or the last two innings.’
      • ‘This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for and is capable of killing millions.’
      • ‘For your information, I can indeed account for my whereabouts when Daniel smashed his neck in.’
      • ‘No charges were laid against them, as they could all account for their whereabouts the night Seecharan was set ablaze.’
      • ‘Despite this, Anwar and his lawyers were able to account for his whereabouts on every single day of this three-month period.’
      • ‘Kerry's whereabouts must be known and accounted for most, if not all, of that time.’
      • ‘All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident scene.’
      • ‘Authorities have never publicly accounted for his whereabouts during the time of the alleged motel encounter.’
      • ‘Nerac's wife, Fabienne, has asked US Secretary of State Colin Powell to account for her husband's whereabouts during a news conference in Brussels, Belgium.’
      • ‘As part of his defence, Anwar's lawyers accounted for his whereabouts at the time in question - 7.45 p.m. - for every day over that period.’
      • ‘It is claimed that a number of FRU officers cannot account for their whereabouts on March 17.’
      • ‘And think of the faith-healing couple that refuses to account for the whereabouts of their infant.’
  • 2Succeed in killing, destroying, or defeating.

    ‘a mishit drive accounted for Jones, who had scored 32’
    • ‘In Major League, undefeated Workers held off a spirited Norths charge to retain the top position, whereas Brothers easily accounted for last-placed Redbirds in a seven innings encounter.’
    • ‘After a relatively slow start the Lismore team came home with a barnstorming finish to easily account for the highly fancied Coffs Harbour and Armidale teams.’
    • ‘At adult level both junior teams were successful with the junior squad defeating Eire Og and the Junior squad accounting for Kilbride.’
    • ‘The winners dominated the second period and a lack of power up front was a major factor in this defeat for the West who accounted for the East Division in the opening round the previous week.’
    • ‘In the quarterfinals Carlow C.B.S. defeated Col. Iosagain, Portarlington while St. Kieran's accounted for Ballyfin.’
    • ‘Earlier in the week the Eire Og men defeated Michael Davitts in the semi final while Rathvilly accounted for Tinryland in the second semi final.’
    • ‘They accounted for 14 of the 18 enemy aircraft, destroyed at a cost of eight British lives.’
    • ‘After comfortably accounting for Haydock away and Newton-le Willows at home they destroyed the hopes of Highfield who themselves had aspirations to become league leaders.’
    • ‘Laois accounted for Kildare and Carlow while Carlow defeated Kildare.’
    • ‘On the other side Naas pulled out all the stops in defeating Kilkenny and they went on to easily account for Portlaoise in the final.’
    • ‘Rooney charged around for the remainder of the match, furious with his - and his team's - inability to defeat the kind of opposition that has to be accounted for if the Premiership title is to be won.’
    dispose of, finish off, make an end of, deal with, put paid to, take care of, clear up, mop up, eliminate, kill, destroy, dispatch, put out of action, incapacitate
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  • 3Supply or make up (a specified amount or proportion)

    ‘social security accounts for about a third of total public spending’
    • ‘Shocking statistics show one-third of workplace accidents occur in the agriculture sector which accounts for just 7.5% of the workforce.’
    • ‘The money accounted for three-quarters of the profits made by Kilmarnock Prison Services Ltd over the past two years.’
    • ‘Children account for a large proportion of casualties because they represent 39 per cent of the overall population in the eight hardest-hit countries.’
    • ‘But such accidents account for only one-third of all oil pollution.’
    • ‘Motorbikes represent just 1% of all vehicles on Scottish roads, but they account for more than 14% of road accidents.’
    • ‘Statistics show that heavy vehicles account for a large number of accidents.’
    • ‘In 1969, he accounted for 5% of record sales in the U.S.A., outselling the Beatles.’
    • ‘Ten trades in Abbey shares were recorded, accounting for almost €100,000.’
    • ‘Motorists who get behind the wheel when tired account for 20 per cent of Britain's road accidents.’
    • ‘This represents approximately one patient per day and accounts for only a small proportion of attendances with chest pain to an urban emergency department.’
    • ‘And by Wednesday Jackson broke records on Yahoo, accounting for nearly 20% of all terms searched on the site.’
    • ‘High utilizers of medical services comprise a small proportion of all patients, yet they account for a disproportionate amount of expenses in the health care system.’
    • ‘The money from News Corporation accounts for almost half of the NZRU's revenue.’
    • ‘More than half of Scotland's councils do not offer school swimming lessons to primary children, and yet recent figures have shown drowning accidents are accounting for nearly 100 young people's deaths annually.’
    • ‘Money laundering, which accounts for £18 bn a year in the UK, is another key issue facing the financial watchdog, and enforcing new regulations will be a key test for him.’
    • ‘Irish consumers also have a unique taste for high dry matter potatoes, with the varieties Kerr's Pink, Record and Rooster accounting for over 60% of total production.’
    • ‘Motorways are statistically the safest roads, carrying 15 per cent of traffic and accounting for three per cent of accidents.’
    • ‘Whereas manufacturing once accounted for almost 40% of the UK's output, it now represents less than half that.’
    • ‘In 2003, there were 83,000 babies born in Shanghai, of which the migrant population was responsible for 26,000, accounting for about one third of the total.’
    • ‘Labourers who plunge to the ground in building site accidents accounted for more than half of all construction deaths, and nearly a third of major injuries across Britain, in 2001-02.’
    constitute, make up, comprise, form, compose, be responsible for, represent, supply, provide, give
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