Legal Dictionary


Legal Definition of acceptance


  1. One of three requisites to a valid contract under common law (the other two being an offer and consideration). A contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties which starts with an offer from one person but which does not become a contract until the other party signifies an unequivocal willingness to accept the terms of that offer. The moment of acceptance is the moment from which a contract is said to exist, and not before. Acceptance need not always be direct and can, in certain circumstances, be implied by conduct

See also

Definition of acceptance


  • IPA: /əkˈsɛp.təns/
  • SAMPA: /@k"sEp.t@ns/


    From Old French accepter


acceptance (plural acceptances)

  1. The act of accepting; a receiving of something offered, with approbation, satisfaction, or acquiescence; especially, favorable reception; approval

    the acceptance of a gift, office, doctrine, etc.

    * Isaiah 60:7:
    They shall come up with acceptance on mine altar.

  2. State of being accepted.

    * Shakespeare: Rape of Lucrece:
    Makes it assured of acceptance.

  3. (business, finance) An assent and engagement by the person on whom a bill of exchange is drawn, to pay it when due according to the terms of the acceptance.
  4. (business, finance) The bill of exchange itself when accepted.
  5. An agreeing to terms or proposals by which a bargain is concluded and the parties are bound; the reception or taking of a thing bought as that for which it was bought, or as that agreed to be delivered, or the taking possession as owner.
  6. (law) An agreeing to the action of another, by some act which binds the person in law.
  7. (US Government) The act of an authorized representative of the Government by which the Government assents to ownership by it of existing and identified supplies, or approves specific services rendered, as partial or complete performance of a contract.
  8. (obsolete) acceptation
  9. (Australian and New Zealand, plural) A list of horses accepted as starters in a race.

Usage notes

  • (legal, An agreeing to the action of another, by some act which binds the person in law): In modern law, proposal and acceptance are the constituent elements into which all contracts are resolved.

Derived terms

  • (US Government, act of an authorized representative to assent to ownership or approve services rendered): acceptance of a bill of exchange, acceptance of goods
  • acceptance of persons
  • (business, finance): banker's acceptance, trade acceptance


  • (act of accepting): accepting, receiving, reception, approval
  • (State of being accepted): acceptableness
  • (commerce, assent and engagement of a bill of exchange): assent


  • acceptance in Webster´┐Żs Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
  • (legal, An agreeing to the action of another, by some act which binds the person in law): Mozley and Whitely, Law Dictionary:

    What acts shall amount to such an acceptance is often a question of great nicety and difficulty.


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


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