Meaning of “account (to sb) for sth” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"account (to sb) for sth" in British English

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account (to sb) for sth

phrasal verb with account uk /əˈkaʊnt/ us /əˈkaʊnt/ verb [ T + obj + noun/adj ] formal

C2 to explain the reason for something or the cause of something:

Can you account for your absence last Friday?
She was unable to account for over $5,000 (= she could not explain where the money was).
He has to account to his manager for (= tell his manager about and explain) all his movements.

More examples

  • There is £50 missing from the till - how do account for that?
  • You will have to account for your absence to the head teacher in the morning.
  • Sarah was bullied at school, which might account for her behaviour now.
  • It's difficult to account for the recent increase in violent crime.
  • The prime minister will have to account to the whole nation for his decision.

(Definition of “account (to sb) for sth” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)