account for (phrasal verb)
- (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.”
- (transitive) To be the primary cause of
- The torrential downpour would account for the saturated state of the land.
- (transitive) To constitute in amount or portion.
- German speakers accounted for 37% of the population.
- 1992 Nov 15, “Scientists monitoring return of wolves to Upper Pennisula”, 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.
- (transitive) To make or render a reckoning of funds, persons, or things.
- (transitive) To be answerable for.
- (transitive) To destroy or put out of action.
- Coyotes account for more rabbits than hunters do.
- 1942 Oct 11, “Check of Fortress, Liberator Raid At Lille Reveals High Enemy Loss”, Hartford Courant:
- Allied Air Forces Account for 34 Axis Aircraft
- 1972 Feb 22, “Jet Missile Downs Mig In Dogfight”, 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
to explain by relating circumstances
to be the primary cause of
to constitute in amount or portion
to make or render a reckoning of funds, persons, or things
military: to destroy or put out of action