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  • accoutrement
  • audio pronunciation
  • \uh-KOO-ter-munt\
  • DEFINITION

noun

1
a : equipment, trappings; specifically : a soldier's outfit usually not including clothes and weapons — usually used in plural b : an accessory item of clothing or equipment — usually used in plural
2
: an identifying and often superficial characteristic or device — usually used in plural
  • EXAMPLES

She was decked out in all the accoutrements of a tourist, including a camera around her neck and sunglasses atop her head.

"Does 31 mpg, eked from a 4,255-pound, five-passenger luxury sedan swimming in leather and wood and all the techy accoutrements to which the 1 percent have become accustomed, sound reasonable?" — From a review by Natalie Neff in Auto Week, April 16, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?

"Accoutrement" and its relative "accoutre," a verb meaning "to provide with equipment or furnishings" or "to outfit," have been appearing in English texts since the 16th century. Today both words have variant spellings — "accouterment" and "accouter." Their French ancestor, "accoutrer," descends from an Old French word meaning "seam" and ultimately traces to the Latin word "consuere," meaning "to sew together." You probably won’t be too surprised to learn that "consuere" is also an ancestor of "couture," meaning "the business of designing fashionable custom-made women's clothing."

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "recalcitrant," our Word of the Day from May 12? The answer is ...

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