The Grammarphobia Blog

Should “reaccredited” be edited?

Q: I work for a municipal police department. We are busy writing our annual report and are stuck. Is “reaccredit” or “reaccredited” a word? Dictionary.com does not list it, though it does have “reaccreditation.”

A: Yes, both “reaccredit” and “reaccredited” are standard English words.

The verb “reaccredit” is in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.), along with a bunch of other words prefixed by “re.” Since “reaccredit” is a legitimate verb, the past participle and adjective “reaccredited” would be legit too.

I couldn’t find any published references for “reaccredit” in the Oxford English Dictionary, but the “re”-less verb “accredit” has been in English since 1620.

In the early days, “accredit” meant to vouch for or present as credible. The word “accredited” has been around since 1634, and the noun “accreditation” since 1806.

None of these terms were used in the sense of credentialed (as in an accredited diplomat or representative or program) until the late 18th century.

And it wasn’t until a century later that any of these words were used in reference to schools that were certified as meeting certain standards.

Good luck with your annual report.

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