account for

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account for (third-person singular simple present accounts for, present participle accounting for, simple past and past participle accounted for)

  1. (transitive) To explain by relating circumstances; to show that some one, thing or members of a group are present or have been processed.
    I don't have to account for anything to you.
    The storekeeper was expected to account for any material removed.
    • a. 1905, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Adventure of the Dancing Men”, in The Return of Sherlock Holmes, W. R. Caldwell & Co. (1905), page 78:
      [] But there are still four cartridges in the revolver. Two have been fired and two wounds inflicted, so that each bullet can be accounted for.”
  2. (transitive) To be the primary cause of
    The torrential downpour would account for the saturated state of the land.
  3. (transitive) To constitute in amount or portion.
    German speakers accounted for 37% of the population.
    • 1992 November 15, “Scientists monitoring return of wolves to Upper Pennisula”, in Chicago Tribune:
      ... and car strikes account for more than 50000, it's obvious the wolves' effect on the state's deer herd is so small as to be meaningless.
  4. (transitive) To make or render a reckoning of funds, persons, or things.
    • 2023 March 8, Gareth Dennis, “The Reshaping of things to come...”, in RAIL, number 978, page 46:
      When you deduct the direct and indirect costs, the picture looks a little different. Only mail and coal traffic generated a net revenue when accounting for all costs, not just direct operating costs.
  5. (transitive) To be answerable for.
  6. (transitive) To destroy or put out of action.
    Coyotes account for more rabbits than hunters do.
    • 1942 October 11, “Check of Fortress, Liberator Raid At Lille Reveals High Enemy Loss”, in Hartford Courant:
      Allied Air Forces Account for 34 Axis Aircraft
    • 1972 February 22, “Jet Missile Downs Mig In Dogfight”, in The Bulletin:
      South Vietnamese counter-attacks helped account for 239 guerrillas reported killed in the 24 hours ending at 6 today, 86 of them in allied air attacks

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