Origin of accountable
OTHER WORDS FROM accountableac·count·a·ble·ness, nounac·count·a·bly, adverbnon·ac·count·a·ble, adjective
Words nearby accountable
What does accountable mean?
Accountable means obligated to explain, justify, and take responsibility for one’s actions, and to answer to someone, such as a person with more authority.
The word accountable is often used in the context of individuals taking responsibility for their actions. It’s also commonly used in the context of institutions or people that are responsible to the public, such as the government, its agencies, politicians, and the media. Accountability is often discussed with transparency and consequences. This typically involves keeping people and organizations accountable by making their actions visible and having consequences when those actions are not acceptable.
Accountable is often used with the verb hold, as in We need to hold him accountable for his actions.
Example: The system of checks and balances is intended to keep the different branches of government accountable.
Where does accountable come from?
The first records of accountable come from the 1300s. Its base word, account, is often used as a verb meaning “to justify” or “to explain,” as in How do you account for your actions? To be accountable, then, is to be able to account for one’s actions.
You can’t keep people accountable without an account—meaning a record of what happened, or at least the knowledge of it. If actions are hidden, there can be no accountability for them. This means that holding a person—or oneself—accountable starts with honesty. Accountability in institutions and organizations starts with transparency (such as access to documents). Holding people accountable also involves establishing consequences. Otherwise, people and institutions would be free to do whatever they wanted—leading to corruption. In this way, accountability usually involves methods intended to prevent too much power from being held in one place. For individuals, it often involves recognizing shortcomings (such as implicit bias) and working to overcome them.
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms related to accountable?
- accountability (noun)
- accountably (adverb)
What are some synonyms for accountable?
What are some words that share a root or word element with accountable?
What are some words that often get used in discussing accountable?
How is accountable used in real life?
Accountable is used in the context of both organizations and individuals.
it’s not “cancel culture” if people are being held accountable for their actions.
— Logan (@loganahobson) June 23, 2020
EVERYONE should feel safe playing games and EVERYONE should feel safe MAKING games, and art, and film, and comics, and anyone who makes these industries perilous for women, LGBTQIA+ individuals, POC, ANYONE needs to be held accountable.
— RIOT HYLIΔ🏳️🌈 (@faeriefountain) June 23, 2020
Normalize holding your friends accountable for their actions and stop turning a blind eye and making excuses for their toxic behavior. 💜
— SoaR Annialis 🏳️🌈 (@AnnialisXD) June 22, 2020
Try using accountable!
True or False?
Being accountable usually requires transparency and consequences.
How to use accountable in a sentence
Our stories focus on holding the powerful accountable in service of the public.Are You Participating in a Vaccine Trial? Are You Running One? We’d Like to Hear About It.|by Caroline Chen, Ryan Gabrielson and Isaac Arnsdorf|September 17, 2020|ProPublica
That being said, if you have the potential for a trigger, and you’re not honest with yourself about there being doubt, and you end up being wrong — then you do run the risk of being held accountable to that.Don’t Blame The Refs For All Of These Replay Reviews|Jared Dubin|September 17, 2020|FiveThirtyEight
Thank you to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press for joining us in this effort to hold the administration accountable and to get answers to these important questions.
He also argued that the Lausanne, Switzerland–based organization should be held accountable for misinforming hosts about the real risks.
A PBC has an obligation to state a public purpose beyond profit, to fulfill that purpose as part of the responsibilities of its directors, and to be accountable for so doing.50 years later, Milton Friedman’s shareholder doctrine is dead|jakemeth|September 13, 2020|Fortune
Then we all have to do our part to engage the officers and our community, and hold everyone accountable in the process.
When companies do bad things they ought to be held accountable for them.Why Do ‘Progressives’ Want to Ban Uber and AirBnB?|Adam Thierer, Christopher Koopman|December 30, 2014|DAILY BEAST
It is freedom, and accountable both legally and socially to the free choices of others around them.
The American people need to rise up and hold their elected officials accountable.
I hope that America is going to hold Cuba accountable in public opinion.
They did not feel accountable for their deeds or thoughts or words to an irresistible Power working for righteousness or truth.Beacon Lights of History, Volume I|John Lord
They held us accountable for the conduct of those who had left, and vented the malignity of their unfeeling hearts upon us.
By a train of events for which she is not accountable the question has become of importance to you.Tristram of Blent|Anthony Hope
Sometimes we can hardly be held accountable for what we do; especially when our sense of justice is sorely taxed.Three Little Women|Gabrielle E. Jackson
Commanding officers accountable for proper training of organizations; field efficiency; team-work.Manual of Military Training|James A. Moss