Definition of account for phrasal verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


account for

 phrasal verb
phrasal verb Experiments and research
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Phrasal Verbs
  1. 1  to be the explanation or cause of something synonym explain The poor weather may have accounted for the small crowd. Oh well, that accounts for it (= I understand now why it happened). The differences in achievement between the pupils are partly accounted for by differences in age. See related entries: Experiments and research
  2. 2  to give an explanation of something synonym explain How do you account for the show's success? He was unable to account for the error. The increase can be fully accounted for.
  3. 3  to be a particular amount or part of something The Japanese market accounts for 35% of the company's revenue. Language BankproportionDescribing fractions and proportions According to this pie chart, a third of students’ leisure time is spent watching TV. One in five hours is/​are spent socializing. Socializing accounts for/makes up/comprises about 20% of leisure time. Students spend twice as much time playing computer games as doing sport. Three times as many hours are spent playing computer games as reading. The figure for playing computer games is three times higher than the figure for reading. The largest proportion of time is spent playing computer games.

    account for somebody


    account for something

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  1. 1to know where somebody/something is or what has happened to them, especially after an accident All passengers have now been accounted for. Three files cannot be accounted for.
  2. 2(informal) to defeat or destroy somebody/something Our anti-aircraft guns accounted for five enemy bombers.

account for something (to somebody)

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to give a record of how the money in your care has been spent We have to account for every penny we spend on business trips.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: account for