accessory

1 of 2

noun

ac·​ces·​so·​ry ik-ˈse-sə-rē How to pronounce accessory (audio)
ak-,
ek-,
-ˈses-rē,
 also  ə-ˈse-
variants or less commonly accessary
plural accessories
1
a
: an object or device that is not essential in itself but adds to the beauty, convenience, or effectiveness of something else
auto accessories
clothing accessories
b
: a thing of secondary or lesser importance : adjunct
2
law
a
: a person not actually or constructively present but contributing as an assistant or instigator to the commission of an offense

called also accessory before the fact

b
: a person who knowing that a crime has been committed aids or shelters the offender with intent to defeat justice

called also accessory after the fact

accessory

2 of 2

adjective

1
: assisting under the orders of another
especially : contributing to a crime but not as the chief agent
2
: aiding or contributing in a secondary way : supplementary
accessory materials
3
: present in a minor amount and not essential as a constituent
an accessory mineral in a rock

Examples of accessory in a Sentence

Noun fashion accessories such as scarves, handkerchiefs, bracelets, and rings He is wanted as an accessory to murder. Adjective most phone services offer accessory features such as call-waiting
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Forgoing any statement earrings or footwear, Queen Camilla maintained the neutral tone motif of her ensemble with her various accessories. Julia Teti, WWD, 10 July 2024 Keep things casual with a pair of ballet flats, or take your look to the next level with gold accessories and strappy block heels. Emily Weaver, Peoplemag, 10 July 2024
Adjective
Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, the bill would have allowed accessory units to be either within, directly attached to, or on the lot of a single-family primary home. Ben Terzi, Baltimore Sun, 22 Feb. 2024 Some of the main differences concern the presence, in the new species, of a palatal ridge, a pair of accessory incisive foramina, and a steeper rostrum deflection; among various others. Irene Wright, Miami Herald, 13 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for accessory 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'accessory.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English accessorie, axcessary "person contributing to the commission of an offense," borrowed from Anglo-French accessorie, accessoire, borrowed from Medieval Latin accessōrius "person contributing to the commission of an offense, supplementary material," from Latin access- (stem in derivation of accēdere "to approach") + -ōrius -ory entry 1 — more at accede

Adjective

Middle English accessorie, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Medieval Latin accessōrius — more at accessory entry 1, -ory entry 2

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Adjective

1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of accessory was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near accessory

Cite this Entry

“Accessory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/accessory. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

accessory

1 of 2 noun
ac·​ces·​so·​ry ik-ˈses-(ə-)rē How to pronounce accessory (audio)
ak-
plural accessories
1
: something (as an object or device) that is not necessary in itself but adds to the beauty, convenience, or effectiveness of something else
2
: a person who aids another in doing wrong or in an attempt to escape justice

accessory

2 of 2 adjective
: aiding or helping in a secondary way : supplementary

Medical Definition

accessory

1 of 2 adjective
ac·​ces·​so·​ry ik-ˈses-(ə-)rē, ak- How to pronounce accessory (audio)
1
: aiding, contributing, or associated in a secondary way: as
a
: being or functioning as a vitamin
accessory food substances
b
: associated in position or function with something (as an organ or lesion) usually of more importance
the testis and accessory male ducts and glandsB. T. Scheer
2
: supernumerary
accessory spleens

accessory

2 of 2 noun
plural accessories

Legal Definition

accessory

noun
ac·​ces·​so·​ry
variants also accessary
plural accessories
1
: a person who is not actually or constructively present but with criminal intent contributes as an assistant or instigator to the commission of a felony

called also accessory before the fact

compare principal in the second degree at principal

Note: The traditional distinction between accessories before the fact and principals, that accessories were not present and principals were present at the commission of the crime, is not recognized under most modern state statutes. Accessories before the fact are usually considered principals.

2
: a person who knowing that a felony has been committed aids, assists, or shelters the offender with the intent to defeat justice

called also accessory after the fact

Note: Many state statutes now omit the term accessory after the fact and instead characterize the accessory as having committed a particular offense, such as obstructing justice.

3
: the crime of being an accessory
usually used with to and specifying the crime
convicted of murder and accessory to murderH. B. Zobel
compare substantive crime
accessoryship noun
Etymology

Noun

Medieval Latin accessorius subordinate matter, accomplice to a crime, from Latin accedere to go to, agree, assent

More from Merriam-Webster on accessory

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