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What may be the meaning of the word acceptation for general English usage?

The Merriam-Webster lists primary definition as "1: acceptance; especially : favorable reception or approval" and follows on with "2: a generally accepted meaning of a word or understanding of a concept"

Oxforddictionaries online lists only one definition: "noun a particular sense or the generally recognized meaning (common acceptation) of a word or phrase."

The OAADonline too records just one entry: "(linguistics) the meaning that a word or expression is generally accepted as having".

Would it be acceptable to use the word acceptation in the sense of acceptance, as in: "acceptation/rejection of a paper submitted to a conference"?

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How are you using your phrase? Do you mean acceptation to mean the act of accepting, or the fact that it has been accepted by that act? –  Andrew Leach Nov 10 '12 at 9:49
    
@AndrewLeach :) "generally accepted meaning". –  Kris Nov 10 '12 at 9:52
    
That doesn't answer my question; a paper is accepted or rejected. What has "generally accepted meaning" got to do with a conference paper? My point was that the act of accepting could well be acceptation as an alternative to acceptance; but the fact that it was accepted would be acceptance. –  Andrew Leach Nov 10 '12 at 9:56
    
My question is entirely different -- Would you mind if I ask you to give it another read? –  Kris Nov 10 '12 at 9:58
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You have asked two questions, one at the start and one at the end. The answer to the second question informs the answer to the first. And the second question can't be answered without clarification of exactly what is meant by acceptation in that phrase. –  Andrew Leach Nov 10 '12 at 10:00
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2 Answers

Acceptation has been in use for centuries, but in contemporary usage it seems to have no advantage over acceptance, and the distinct disadvantage that it is unusual, and as such likely to be a distraction.

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I find this rather strange. You seem to mean acceptation in the sense of acceptance would be a distraction -- certainly not in the sense of "generally accepted meaning". –  Kris Nov 10 '12 at 9:54
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I was answering your question about whether acceptation would be acceptable in describing a paper submitted to a conference. –  Barrie England Nov 10 '12 at 11:02
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I would never use it in lieu of "acceptance" vs. "rejection" of a paper for a conference. This is standard parlance in the conference trade, and using "acceptation" would come off as pretentious at best, even more so than using in lieu of. –  user21497 Nov 10 '12 at 11:16
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I'd be fairly happy for this picture from the Wiltshire Times

Devizes MP at 10 Downing Street

to be captioned "Acceptation of petition at Prime Minister's office" because that is the act of accepting that box of paperwork. I would find it distracting because it's unusual and could equally well — in fact more than equally well — be the acceptance of the petition.

I wouldn't be happy with a sentence like "Our acceptation of the necessity for a new airport depends on [whatever]" because that's not really the same act. That should be acceptance. There's a subtle difference between the physical act in the photo and what is a metaphysical act in accepting a particular philosophical argument, where the necessity is accepted as a fact.

Because that's such a subtle difference I'd far rather keep both of the above as acceptance.

If you're asking about the definition of the word acceptation in a linguistic sense then it means what it means: it's a technical term with a specific definition, "the meaning that a word or expression is generally accepted as having". It wouldn't be right to use acceptance instead of that technical term.

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