account for


verb (intr, preposition)

to give reasons for (an event, act, etc)
to make or provide a reckoning of (expenditure, payments, etc)
to be responsible for destroying, killing, or putting (people, aircraft, etc) out of action

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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with account for

account for

1

Be the determining factor in; cause. For example, The heat wave accounts for all this food spoilage, or Icy roads account for the increase in accidents.

2

Explain or justify, as in Jane was upset because her son couldn't account for the three hours between his last class and his arrival at home. Both of these related usages are derived from the literal meaning of the phrase, that is, “make a reckoning of an account.” [Second half of 1700s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.