mid-15c., "accounting officer, one who renders accounts," from Old French acontant (Modern French accomptant), from present participle of aconter "to count, enumerate" (see account (v.)). Sense of "professional maker of accounts" is recorded from 1530s. The word also was an adjective in Middle English, "accountable; liable to render accounts" (early 15c.).
updated on October 17, 2016