accessory

noun
ac·​ces·​so·​ry | \ ik-ˈse-sə-rē , ak-, ek-, -ˈses-rē also ə-ˈse-\
variants: or less commonly accessary
plural accessories

Definition of accessory

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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

adjective

Definition of accessory (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for accessory

Synonyms: Noun

accoutrement (or accouterment), adapter (also adaptor), add-on, adjunct, appendage, appliance, attachment, option

Synonyms: Adjective

accessorial, appurtenant, auxiliary, peripheral, supplemental, supplementary

Antonyms: Adjective

chief, main, principal

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To craft a custom home while staying within her budget, Bhasin wove in vintage furniture and accessories, much of which were repainted or reupholstered. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "An Uninspired NYC Apartment Is Revived With Color, Charisma, and Customization," 17 Jan. 2019 Sometime in the past decade, a new breed of attention-seeking attendee emerged, one photographers couldn’t miss, in neon plaid suits and half-a-haberdashery worth of accessories. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Inside the Bizarre Life of a Male Street-Style Star," 14 Jan. 2019 The delicate nature of the accessories are a hit with the Duchess of Sussex, who has worn her thin gold band on a few trips from London to Scotland. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle's Top 5 Favorite Jewelry Brands of All Time," 2 Jan. 2019 This isn’t the first time that Selena has been seen wearing clothes or accessories bearing important reminders —or perhaps a message to her own haters. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Selena Gomez Wears "Choose Empathy" Sweatshirt to Pilates Class," 30 Dec. 2018 In 2008, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin faced criticism after Politico reported that the Republican National Committee had spent more than $150,000 on clothes and accessories for her and her family. Anna North, Vox, "America’s sexist obsession with what women politicians wear, explained," 3 Dec. 2018 Here are 8 of the most fitting objects, clothes, and accessories to give to the power women who have it all. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "89 Stylish Holiday Gifts to Buy for Every Kind of Power Woman," 9 Nov. 2018 Brands are asking Giana to wear their clothes and accessories and post about them. Ray A. Smith, WSJ, "Meet the 9-Year-Old Telling You What to Wear," 6 Oct. 2018 The Karl Lagerfeld x Kaia collaboration will offer both ready-to-wear clothes and accessories and is apparently the company's largest collaborative project to date. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Kaia Gerber and Karl Lagerfeld ​Designed a Capsule Collection Together," 20 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Emil Corsillo is the founder of The Hill-Side, the cult men’s accessory brand, and a creative consultant to many insider fashion brands. Matt Hranek, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Visit Norway, According To Two Design Insiders," 3 Dec. 2018 Similarly, in 2015, Austin eased the requirements for accessory dwellings in certain neighborhoods. Lisa Ward, WSJ, "Cities Hope for Big Benefits From Tiny Houses," 26 June 2018 The city previously had restrictive rules on accessory units, generally banning them except those for people 55 and older. Hillary Davis, latimes.com, "Newport begins tweaking ‘granny flat’ rules, including lower parking requirement," 18 May 2018 The council voted 6-2 to allow the following: * Elimination of lot size requirements so accessory units can be built anywhere. Jacqueline Lee, The Mercury News, "Palo Alto ‘granny units’ encouraged by new zoning rules," 9 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'accessory.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of accessory

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Adjective

1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for accessory

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about accessory

Statistics for accessory

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for accessory

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for accessory

accessory

noun
ac·​ces·​so·​ry | \ ik-ˈse-sə-rē , ak-\
plural accessories

Kids Definition of accessory

1 : a person who helps another in doing wrong an accessory to theft
2 : an object or device not necessary in itself but adding to the beauty or usefulness of something else clothing accessories

accessory

adjective
ac·​ces·​so·​ry | \ ik-ˈses-(ə-)rē, ak- \

Medical Definition of accessory

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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 glands— B. T. Scheer
2 : supernumerary accessory spleens

accessory

noun
plural accessories

Medical Definition of accessory (Entry 2 of 2)

accessory

noun
ac·​ces·​so·​ry
variants: also accessary \ ik-​ˈse-​sə-​rē, ak-​ \
plural accessories

Legal Definition of accessory

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 murder— H. B. Zobel — compare substantive crime

Other Words from accessory

accessoryship noun

History and Etymology for accessory

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on accessory

What made you want to look up accessory? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a servile follower or underling

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!