Definition of acceptation in English:



  • A particular sense or the generally recognized meaning (common acceptation) of a word or phrase.

    • ‘Nonspecialists may also be confused by Riegl's use of style concepts like Mannerism and Baroque and other technical terms in senses that differ somewhat from their customary present acceptations.’
    • ‘If a traveler comes here from Ethiopia, from Australia, or from Great Britain,… he has a right to the protection of the laws, but he is not a citizen in the ordinary acceptation of the word.’
    • ‘The word ‘malice’ in that definition does not mean the word ‘malice’ in the common acceptation or parlance implies.’
    • ‘In both cases, Smith does go on, leaving the derivation of terms from their origins aside, to give the usual post-1688 acceptations, as in ‘Whig history.’’
    • ‘He would now be quite interested in the various usages of the term, its numerous acceptations and definitions, and the way it has infiltrated the discourse in and on the arts.’
    • ‘1 By no means, however, does there exist a consensus on the proper acceptation of the term.’
    • ‘From these definitions it follows that the word probability, in its mathematical acceptation, has reference to the state of our knowledge of the circumstances under which an event may happen or fail.’
    • ‘The powers that are conferred on the trustee, or manager, do not convert the unit trusts into discretionary trusts in the normal acceptation of that term.’


Late Middle English (originally in the sense favorable reception, approval): from late Latin acceptatio(n-), from the verb acceptare (see accept). The current sense dates from the early 17th century.