[ rek-erd-kee-ping ]
/ ˈrɛk ərdˌki pɪŋ /
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the maintenance of a history of one's activities, as financial dealings, by entering data in ledgers or journals, putting documents in files, etc.
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Origin of recordkeeping

First recorded in 1960–65; record + keep + -ing1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does recordkeeping mean?

Recordkeeping is the act of keeping track of the history of a person’s or organization’s activities, generally by creating and storing consistent, formal records.

Recordkeeping is keeping records, or ”units of preserved information in some permanent form (written documents, photographs, recordings, etc.).” Record can also refer to a collection of such items or a history in general. Recordkeeping is typically used in the context of official accounting, especially for businesses or other organizations.

Example: The company’s recordkeeping was very extensive, with each employee’s hiring, pay, and job performance thoroughly documented.

Where does recordkeeping come from?

The word recordkeeping goes back to at least the 1820s. It was originally spelled with a space (record keeping) and is also often spelled with a hyphen (record-keeping). Recordkeeping is a compound word, meaning it is made by combining two separate words without making any changes to them.

Although the etymology of recordkeeping is straightforward, record itself comes from the Latin recordārī (“remember”). It is composed of re- (“again”) and cor (“heart”)—a reference to the idea that the heart is responsible for memory (as in I know that by heart).

Every (non-shady) business does some form of recordkeeping, and government agencies often check companies’ recordkeeping through audits. Although recordkeeping is most often associated with financial records (how much money is made and spent, among other things), the records being kept can be of any type: a school’s recordkeeping involves information about enrollment and test scores; a police department’s recordkeeping deals with crime rates and how many arrests are made.

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What are some other forms of recordkeeping?

  • recordkeeper

What are some synonyms for recordkeeping?

What are some words that share a root or word element with recordkeeping?

What are some words that often get used in discussing recordkeeping?

How is recordkeeping used in real life?

The term recordkeeping is usually reserved for formal, professional contexts, especially involving organizations. Individual people more often use accounting or filing (for things like saving documents for their taxes).



Try using recordkeeping!

Which of the following is NOT an example of recordkeeping?

A. keeping financial records
B. documenting policy decisions
C. fixing the copy machine
D. recording employee performance

How to use recordkeeping in a sentence